Pole Starter Crafton Races from Tail to Take Third in Texas Ft. Worth, Tex. (November 5, 2010) -- Although he earned it in qualifying and the record books with show that he started from the pole, Matt Crafton was forced to race from the tail...
Pole Starter Crafton Races from Tail to Take Third in Texas
Ft. Worth, Tex. (November 5, 2010) -- Although he earned it in qualifying and the record books with show that he started from the pole, Matt Crafton was forced to race from the tail at the start on Friday's WinStar World Casino 350 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Crafton dodged a lap one crash and quickly knifed his way through the field, making his way into the top ten by lap 41 and breaking into the top five less than ten laps later. Once there, he challenged teammate Johnny Sauter for second over the final 15 laps before settling for third position at the checkered, his 14th consecutive top-ten finish.
After qualifying, Crew chief Bud Haefele threw the cover over the No. 88 Menards/McGuire-Nicholas Chevrolet and left it locked in the garage area, impounded by NASCAR, as is the procedure at each NCWTS race on the schedule. But sometime between the end of qualifying and the next morning the bed rail at the base of the rear spoiler was damaged, forcing the team to make repairs and, per NASCAR rule, forcing them to the back for unapproved adjustments in the impound.
"I have no idea what happened to the truck over night," Crafton said. "It looked like someone sat on it, leaned on it, or dropped something heavy on the bed at the base of the spoiler. We had to go in and do some welding and NASCAR said we had to go to the back. I was anxious because this is a fast track and there were some drivers in the field that had never been here before. And, just as I expected, there was some trouble on the first lap and it was right in front of us. I barely got by, but we could have been knocked out of the race on the very first lap when we should have been up there leading."
Crafton was happy with the performance of his truck coming through the field, but disappointed not to be up at the front of the field fighting for the lead and the win.
"This place is all about track position," Crafton said. "I really think if we could have started where we qualified we'd have at least had a chance to be over where Kyle (Busch, race winner) is now. But the Menards Chevy was strong all night long. We ran through traffic pretty easily, but with every one you pass the next one is that much harder. We're happy with a third but we really thought tonight was going to be our night."
Crafton solidified his fourth position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings as he now has an 84-point advantage over fifth-place Austin Dillon. Crafton is 104 behind his ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter in third.
Next up for Matt Crafton and the No. 88 Menards/SealBest Chevrolet is the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday November 12. The race will be shown live on SPEED starting with a 30-minute pre-race show at 7:30 P.M. Eastern. The race can also be heard live on select affiliates of the MRN Radio network nationwide and on Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 128.