Pocono: Matt Crafton race report

Aggressive Crafton Zips to Third in Pocono Truck Sprint Long Pond, Penn. (July 31, 2010) -- Although he qualified in the middle of the field, Matt Crafton became a factor at the front in the middle stages of the Pocono Mountains 125 and when a...

Aggressive Crafton Zips to Third in Pocono Truck Sprint

Long Pond, Penn. (July 31, 2010) -- Although he qualified in the middle of the field, Matt Crafton became a factor at the front in the middle stages of the Pocono Mountains 125 and when a couple of late-race cautions allowed for two attempts at a green-white-checkered finish, Crafton expertly and aggressively weaved his way through traffic to bring the No. 88 Menards/Tide Chevrolet home in third position.

Crafton's third-place finish came in ThorSport Racing's 500th NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start. ThorSport Racing is now just the second team in series history to have reached the 500 start plateau.

"I learned so much here this weekend," Crafton said after the race. "I've only seen this place on TV and let me tell you TV doesn't do this place justice at all. I only have 75 laps total here, 20 in practice and then the 55 here in the race, and that's it. We were out to lunch yesterday but once we got me up to speed and I figured this place out we shot up towards the front. I know the fans here saw a great race with a lot of action packed into a very short sprint but I wish we had another 50 laps to go. We run 100 laps at Daytona. Who knows, with another 25 laps of experience here we might be the ones sitting in victory lane."

Over the final two-lap dash to the checkered Crafton was locked in a side-by-side battle for second with Kasey Kahne. While those two raced alongside one another Elliott Sadler was able to stretch out an advantage, and although Crafton knew running in single file formation would be quicker and might allow them to close the gap, he wasn't willing to roll over and give up second without a fight.

"I knew if we got in line we'd be faster but there was no way I was going to just give up second," Crafton said. "If we were going to chase down Elliott, I wanted to be the one to do it. I was listening to the spotter and he kept saying 'at your door, at the quarter panel, at the bumper' but he never did tell me I was clear. If we could have cleared Kasey I think we might have had a chance to chase down Elliott but he was able to hang out there and use the air to stall me out a little. I had an absolute blast out there today. I threw a couple of Hail Marys on the last couple of restarts and they paid off. Some of the other guys got trapped in traffic and we didn't, it all seemed to work out for us perfectly today."

Crafton's fourth consecutive top-five finish -- and his third third-place run over that four-race stretch -- also boosted him three positions in the championship standings to fifth, the first time Crafton has cracked the top five in the standings since finishing fourth in the season opener at Daytona. He is now 245 points behind leader Todd Bodine, 96 points behind second-place Aric Almirola, 52 points behind ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter for third and just nine points behind Timothy Peters in fourth.

"I've said all along we're not out of this championship yet," Crafton said. "We had an absolutely horrible start to the year and we're in fifth halfway through the season. I know my guys are going to keep working as hard as they have been, and hopefully we've had all the bad luck we're going to have. Some of those guys in front of us haven't had their bad luck yet. We're going to keep racing as hard as we can and try to get us some wins and close up that gap in the points and go get us a championship."

Next up for Crafton and the No. 88 Menards/SealBest Chevrolet is the Nashville 200 at the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday August 7.

-source: tsr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Matt Crafton , Johnny Sauter , Kasey Kahne , Elliott Sadler , Timothy Peters , Aric Almirola