Mesa Marin: Matt Crafton race notes

Engine failure ruins Crafton's California charge. BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - After losing a lap early due to one engine problem, engine failure ruined Matt Crafton's charge through the field at the Lucas Oil 250 NASCAR Truck Series race at the Mesa...

Engine failure ruins Crafton's California charge.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - After losing a lap early due to one engine problem, engine failure ruined Matt Crafton's charge through the field at the Lucas Oil 250 NASCAR Truck Series race at the Mesa Marin Raceway Sunday, March 23. The engine in Crafton's Menards/Enzyme Magic Chevrolet Silverado failed after 236 laps, relegating him to 29th position. Dennis Setzer won the race.

"What a shame," Crafton said. "We had a great truck but no luck.

"We started by having a problem with the spark plug wires.  We ended by
blowing up.  In the middle, we had a lot of fun."

A misfire in the engine at the start of the race quickly dropped Crafton from 10th starting position outside the top-20. A pair of pit stops left him 32nd and a lap behind the leader less than 40 laps into the 250-lap race around the high-banked half mile.

But repairs on the second stop got the engine running full-song. A subsequent stop a few laps later allowed Crafton's crew to make a chassis adjustment. From there, the charge was on.

"(Crew chief) Jerry Cook made a great call on an air pressure adjustment on that second stop," Crafton said. "From that point on, we had a super little hot rod. It was just a matter of being patient and letting the truck do its work and get us to the front."

Crafton earned his lap back, passing leader Carl Edwards and driving away from the pack. He quickly moved through the field, taking the lead from Robert Pressley on lap 180. Crafton led four laps before Jason Leffler passed him.

A few laps later, the engine again started giving problems. This time, the malady proved fatal.

"I was hoping we'd be able to nurse it home," Crafton said. "We were still going to be able to get maybe a 15th-place finish, but it just didn't' make it."

Crafton, who grew up in nearby Tulare, Calif., raced in front of a crowd of approximately 100 people from his hometown who cheered his every move.

"It really was neat to have so many people come here to see us run," Crafton said. "I want to thank them all. I couldn't believe the cheer when they introduced me.

"This is such a neat race track.  I'm glad the trucks came back here this
year.  I hope we keep coming back year after year."

The NASCAR Truck Series continues with a race in Martinsville, Va. on Saturday, April 12.

-smr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jason Leffler , Robert Pressley , Matt Crafton , Carl Edwards