Matt Crafton Scores Second Consecutive Top-Five at Bristol

Photo - Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Photo – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Matt Crafton is our next guest on Fan4Racing Fan2Fan NASCAR & Race Talk on Monday, August 25, 2014 at 9 pm ET. Call 347-996-5176 during the LIVE broadcast with any questions/comments.

Scheduled as a night race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Bristol Motor Speedway, due to rain on Wednesday night, their race began and ended the UNOH 200 on Thursday morning show. Teams were ready for night racing, so the conditions of a day race presented challenges for many teams. The No. 88 ThorSport Racing team and driver Matt Crafton were up to the challenge by not letting the rain dampen their spirits. Crafton braved the changing conditions and brought his Toyota Tundra home in the fourth-place for his second consecutive top-five finish in Bristol’s Thunder Valley.

From the 11th starting spot, the Tulare, CA native made quick work of the field, moving  solidly into the top-ten in the early stages of the 200 lap race. Crafton was fighting a loose truck, and relayed to his crew he was confident they would find the handling he needed before the end of the event. By the lap 50 competition caution, they were in sixth-place. Crew chief Carl Joiner brought the his driver down pit road for four tires and fuel. The pit crew performed a flawless stop, gaining two positions with Crafton now in fourth-place for the ensuing restart.

Crafton held steady inside the top-five although he continued to battle a loose truck through the next part of the race. Relief came in the form of a caution at lap 118, and Joiner brought the No. 88 back down pit road for another set of tires, fuel, and a much-needed air pressure adjustment. The adjustment helped Crafton’s loose problem, but pushed his truck to the tight side, which would plague the team for the rest of the 200-lap event. Unfortunately, time ran out on the No. 88 driver to gain any more positions and Crafton brought his No. 88 team home in fourth-place. 

“We fought loose, loose the whole first run — on the very stop we put tires on it and we fought loose again,” explained Matt Crafton after the race. “Made an adjustment on the last stop and we just stepped over the line, just got a little bit too tight, but it was pretty darned good.  We just needed track position there at the end. If we could have gotten that outside rolling, I think we could have had something for them.”

With his fourth-place finish in the UNOH 200 at Bristol, Crafton now has three top-five finishes in 12 starts at the .533-mile oval. For the season, he has two wins, seven top-five and nine top-ten finishes.

With just eight points separating Crafton – the 2013 series’ champion – from his ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter, he is second in the series’ point standings.

Brad Keselowski won the UNOH 200 on Thursday morning, followed by Darrel Wallace Jr, Ron Hornaday, Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter rounding out the top-five finishers.

Up next for the Camping World Truck Series is Canadian Tire Motorsports Park on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014

 

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