Matt Crafton No. 88 Menards/McGuire-Nicholas Chevrolet Preview: O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway Sandusky, Oh. (April 26, 2010) -- Matt Crafton heads to Kansas Speedway coming off a sixth-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway, ...
Matt Crafton No. 88 Menards/McGuire-Nicholas Chevrolet Preview: O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway
Sandusky, Oh. (April 26, 2010) -- Matt Crafton heads to Kansas Speedway coming off a sixth-place finish at Nashville Superspeedway, a finish that he says could have been better based on the performance of the No. 88 Menards Chevy. Unfortunately a narrow racing groove and racing circumstances prevented a top-five result, but that race gives Crafton and his team confidence headed into the fifth race of the 2010 Camping World Truck Series season.
What's the most difficult challenge to racing at Kansas Speedway? "For every year we've been racing there except last year it's been so hot there that you're fighting to get grip. The track just gets so slick. There is a second groove there and you can race side by side, but it's not like Atlanta where you can run from the white line to the wall. There isn't a lot of banking either but there's still a lot of speed. It's a challenge to get the truck just right but Bud (Haefele, crew chief) and the guys know how to make our Menards Chevy go fast on the mile and a half tracks so we should be right there at the end."
How much do you look forward to racing on the mile-and-a-half tracks? "We have such a great intermediate track package that every time we go to the track we know we have a chance to win. We had an awesome truck at Nashville, probably the best truck we've ever had there but just couldn't pass because the racing groove there is so narrow. Kansas has a couple of groove you can race in and we've had some good races there in the past so we're going there with a great chance to win."
Getting Crafton Comfortable: The challenge of setting up the truck to handle the high speeds and relatively flat corners at Kansas Speedway falls on crew chief Bud Haefele's shoulders. He has developed a solid intermediate setup that has put Crafton in contention to win at the 1.5-mile tracks several times over the past four seasons. "The best way to get the driver comfortable at Kansas or any racetrack is to give him a truck that handles good and is fast," Haefele said. "We have good horsepower and a good mile-and-half package so Matt is usually pretty happy, so we really concentrate on making fine adjustments. The challenge at Kansas is it's usually really hot and the track gets slick. We start with our baseline mile-and-half setup and work with the changing track conditions. Most years we've gone there, even in the spring, and it's been really warm. Last year it was cool and wet and that threw everyone for a loop."
Matt at Ronald McDonald House: Along with his ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton will visit the Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City on Friday April 30. Crafton will tour the facility and playground being built in memory of former Sprint marketing exec Tom Murphy. "It will be fun to visit with the families at the Ronald McDonald House," Crafton said. "These families have a lot going on in their lives, so hopefully we can help take their mind off some of those things and have some fun talking racing with them."
McGuire-Nicholas on the hood: McGuire-Nicholas, providers of quality work wear since 1932, will be on the hood of the No. 88 Menards Chevy for the first of four 2010 races at Kansas Speedway.
Matt at Kansas: Matt Crafton has raced in all nine previous NCWTS events at Kansas Speedway. He has one top-five finish and four top-ten finishes, with his best finish of fifth coming in 2004. He finished seventh in 2009. His average start is 16.2 and his average finish is 15.7. He has completed 1,428 of a possible 1,471 competition laps (97.1%) and has led six laps. Crafton has made 105 NCWTS starts on "intermediate" tracks between 1.33 and two miles in length, with one win, 19 top-five finishes, and 51 top-ten finishes.