Matt Crafton

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Matt Crafton
Crafton Kentucky I 2011.jpg
Crafton in 2011
Born (1976-06-11) June 11, 1976 (age 38)
Tulare, California, U.S.
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 160 lb (73 kg)
Achievements 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion
2000 NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour Champion
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
Car no., team No. 29 (RAB Racing)
NASCAR Nationwide Series career
4 race(s) run over 2 year(s)
Car no., team No. 33 (Richard Childress Racing)
2013 position 102nd
Best finish 102nd (2013)
First race 2013 Feed the Children 300 (Kentucky)
Last race 2014 Boyd Gaming 300 (Las Vegas)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 3 0
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
325 race(s) run over 15 year(s)
Truck no., team No. 88 (ThorSport Racing)
2013 position 1st
Best finish 1st (2013)
First race 2000 Motorola 200 (California)
Last race 2014 American Ethanol 200 (Iowa)
First win 2008 North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (Charlotte)
Last win 2014 WinStar World Casino 400K (Texas)
Wins Top tens Poles
5 181 7
Statistics current as of July 11, 2014.

Matthew "Matt" Crafton (born June 11, 1976)[1] is an American race car driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He currently drives the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra for ThorSport Racing.

Early career[edit]

Matt Crafton's blue No. 46 Ford
Matt Crafton's No. 46 Featherlite Southwest Series car

Crafton was born in Tulare, California. Before turning to NASCAR racing in 2000, he raced go-karts, midgets, and mini sprints. Crafton began his go-kart career at the age of seven after receiving a kart as a present for graduating from kindergarten. He won multiple national and regional championships before moving to midgets at the age of 15, winning twenty main events.

He joined the Featherlite Southwest Series as a substitute for his injured father, Danny Crafton, in 1996, filling in as driver of the No. 46 entry for the final three races of the season. Crafton took over the No. 46 full-time in 1997. His career went national when he became involved in the 1998 Winter Heat Series shown on ESPN at Tucson Raceway Park, during which he raced against other current NASCAR drivers Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Ron Hornaday.

After four full-time seasons in the Featherlite Southwest Series, Crafton won the championship in 2000 on the strength of four wins that year. His success in the Featherlite Southwest Series that season led to the invitation to make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut for ThorSport Racing.

NASCAR career[edit]

Crafton made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in 2000 at the season finale at California Speedway. Driving the PickupTruck.com Chevy for ThorSport Racing, he qualified 17th and finished ninth. In 2001, he piloted the No. 88 for ThorSport full-time with sponsorship from Fast Track Delivery Sealer and XE Sighting System. He had eleven top-tens and finished twelfth in the championship standings, third behind Ricky Hendrick and Travis Kvapil for Rookie of the Year. Menards first joined as an associate sponsor in 2002 and that season he earned six top-tens and finished fifteenth in points. Crafton earned 11 top 10s before finishing 11th in points in 2003.

In 2004, Crafton signed on to drive the No. 6 GM Goodwrench Silverado owned by Kevin Harvick Incorporated. He posted a best finish of third place in two races, and with six top fives and 17 top 10s, he ended the season fifth in the final standings. Despite strong statistics in 2004, he was released from KHI and returned to ThorSport for the 2005 season, where he won his first career pole at New Hampshire International Speedway, earning two top fives and 10 top 10s and finishing ninth in the standings. In 2006, he had four top-five finishes, 10 top-10 finishes and finished fourteenth in points. In 2007, he improved to eighth in points and posted ten top-ten finishes for the third consecutive season.

Crafton's first NASCAR win came at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 16, 2008, in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200. It was his 178th start, the record for most starts a driver has had before getting his first win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The win moved him into the top five in points for 2008. Later that season, Crafton filled in for Robby Gordon in practice and qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Homestead because Gordon was at the final off-road race of the season.

In 2009, although he did not win a race that season, Crafton scored two poles (Chicagoland Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway), 11 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes, ultimately finishing second in the point standings behind champion Ron Hornaday. Crafton had another strong season in 2010, earning one pole at Texas Motor Speedway, 10 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes, resulting in a season-ending rank of fourth.

Crafton's 2012 truck

2011 saw the second win of Crafton's career at Iowa Speedway, in addition to poles at Michigan International Speedway and Martinsville Speedway, where he broke the track qualifying record. However, four DNFs (Did Not Finish) due to engine failures, mechanical issues and accidents caused by other competitors led to only five top fives and 13 top 10s, ultimately relegating Crafton to eighth in the final standings. In 2012, he had a decent season, finishing 6th in points.

2013 was Crafton's best season in his career to date. He won his third career race at Kansas in April. After this win, Crafton picked up the points lead and held it for the rest of the season. He finished in the top ten in the first sixteen races of the season, and 19 overall, with a worst finish of 21st in the season finale at Homestead. He clinched his first Truck Series championship with his start in that race,[2] and was able to stay on the lead lap despite late crash damage to become the first driver to complete every lap of the season in the Truck Series.[3]

On January 10, 2014, Crafton filled in for Paul Menard's No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet at Daytona testing after a pipe burst in Menard's house,[4] and Crafton was third fastest with a speed of 194.342 miles per hour (312.763 km/h).[5]

In March 2014, it was announced that Crafton would be on stand-by to relief drive for Paul Menard at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt 400, due to Menard and his wife expecting their first child.[6] Crafton practiced and qualified for Menard at the Auto Club 400,[7] qualifying 30th.[8]

On March 30, 2014, Crafton scored his fourth career Truck win at Martinsville.[9] On June 6, he won on fuel strategy at Texas Motor Speedway to win two races in a season for the first time in his career. It was also the first time he led more than 100 laps in a race.

Milestones and records[edit]

Over the course of 11 full-time seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Crafton has reached several milestones and broken records, both individually and with his team:

  • Crafton holds the record for the most consecutive Truck Series starts by an active driver.
  • In the third race of the 2013 season, Crafton passed Terry Cook's record of consecutive starts in the series. Cook had held the record with 296 consecutive starts.
  • Crafton currently holds the record for the fastest qualifying lap at Martinsville Speedway in a truck. Crafton set the record on October 29, 2011, with a qualifying lap of 19.653 seconds (96.352 mph)[10]
  • On August 6, 2011, Crafton and teammate Johnny Sauter started ThorSport Racing's 354th NCWTS race with at least one entry in the field, eclipsing Roush Fenway Racing's previous record of 353.

Motorsports career results[edit]

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Nationwide Series[edit]

Camping World Truck Series[edit]

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

References[edit]

  1. ^ Matt Crafton Career Statistics
  2. ^ Olson, Jeff (November 15, 2013). "With Homestead start, Matt Crafton clinches Trucks title". USA Today. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Matt Crafton Wins NASCAR Truck Series Championship". ESPN. November 15, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ Bromberg, Nick (January 10, 2014). "Richard Childress Racing cars top the charts at Preseason Thunder". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  5. ^ Bruce, Kenny (January 10, 2014). "AUSTIN DILLON SETS PACE AT PRESEASON THUNDER". NASCAR. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  6. ^ DiZinno, Tony (March 5, 2014). "Report: Matt Crafton on standby this weekend for Paul Menard in Las Vegas". MotorSports Talk. NBC Sports. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  7. ^ Long, Dustin (March 21, 2014). "Crafton to Sub for Menard on Friday". Motor Racing Network. Retrieved March 27, 2014. 
  8. ^ Gluck, Jeff (March 21, 2014). "Matt Kenseth wins pole for Auto Club 400 at Fontana". USA Today. Retrieved March 27, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Matt Crafton Wins Rain Delayed Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway". 
  10. ^ NASCAR TRUCKS: Crafton Sets Martinsville Qualifying Record

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Kurt Busch
NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour Champion
2000
Succeeded by
Craig Raudman
Preceded by
James Buescher
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion
2013
Succeeded by
Incumbent