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2014 Kentucky: Matt Crafton NASCAR Truck Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Jun 24, 2014 - 05:31 PM
2014 Kentucky: Matt Crafton NASCAR Truck Race Preview

Matt Crafton and the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards team head intoThursday night's UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway looking for redemption. Coming off a disappointing finish at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., Crafton is eager to get back on track in the "Bluegrass State" and capitalize on his past track experience to reclaim the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) point lead for the third time this season.


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Crafton and his ThorSport Racing team have experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows in their quest for back-to-back championships in 2014. Following their win at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and a second-place finish at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, the No. 88 Toyota team took over the Truck Series point lead three races into the 2014 season. They headed to Dover (Del.) International Speedway with an 11 point lead on Timothy Peters in the point standings, but fell to second-place after a wheel failure with 44 laps remaining in the Lucas Oil 200 resulted in a 23rd-place finish. However, the 2013 Truck Series champion rebounded in style with his second win of the season at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and left the "Lone Star State" with a tight grip on the point lead.

The No.88 ThorSport Racing team experienced another setback following the inaugural Drivin' for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park, when a cut tire sent the Menards driver hard into the Turn 4 wall. After leading 11 laps, the No. 88 Toyota Tundra team was relegated to a 26th-place finish. The result leaves Crafton with a 10-point deficit to point leader and ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter heading into this week's race.

Crafton enters the eighth race on the 2014 schedule at Kentucky Speedway with the most experience on the rough 1.5-mile oval. Of all drivers entered in Thursday night's 150-lap event, the Tulare, CA native has the most starts (15), has completed the most laps (2080), and has the most top-10 finishes. In a state where horses and horsepower run free, you can bet on Crafton to be a contender for his first Kentucky crown and reclaim the Truck Series point lead.

Sounding off - Matt Crafton:
"Kentucky is my favorite mile-and-a-half track that we go to. It's a flat, rough track with a lot of character and it requires you to move around so you can find a place where your truck likes to run. It's a track that demands a lot out of the drivers and crews to really get the truck adjusted, because it's rough and hard to get ahold of, so finding the right setup to make your truck handle is really a chore. But it's a cool racetrack and I'm confident that Kentucky is a place where we can get back in the championship hunt."

Crafton's "Bluegrass State" Stats:
• In 15 starts at Kentucky Speedway, has compiled four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes
• Has led 36 laps around the 1.5-mile oval
• One pole award (June, 2012)
• Best finish: Third (2008 & 2009)
• Average start: 10.9/Average Finish: 11.5
• Completed 2080 of 2240 laps attempted (92.9%)
• According to NASCAR's loop data statics, has a driver rating of 88.2 going into Thursdaynight's 17th annual Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway
• Two NASCAR Nationwide Series starts (2013) including eight laps led and two third-place finishes

Matt Crafton 2014:
• Ranks 2nd in the 2014 NCWTS driver point standings heading into Thursday night's UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway, 10 points behind leader Johnny Sauter
• Has been victorious twice - Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
• The first season in 14 years in the NCWTS that the 38-year-old driver has won multiple races in one season
• Has posted four top-five finishes and 222 laps led
• Recorded a season-best 2nd-place start three times; Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Dover (Del.) International Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
• Has completed 93.2% of laps attempted (1103/1184)
• According to NASCAR's Loop Data, leads all NCWTS drivers in Average Running Position (6.7), Driver Rating (108.7), and Fastest Driver on Restarts. Ranks second for Fastest Laps Run (104), Laps in the Top-15 (1076), Laps Led (222), and Average Finish (9.7)

Crafton's Career Truck Series Stats:
• 323 starts since 2000
• 5 wins
• 67 top-5 finishes
• 179 top-10 finishes
• 7 poles
• 50597 laps completed
• 842 laps led
• Avg. Start: 13.6
• Avg. Finish: 12.0

Catch the Action:
FOX Sports 1's coverage of the Truck Series at Kentucky Speedway will begin on Thursday, June 26 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time(ET) with Truck Series qualifying, followed by the NCWTS Setup at7:30 p.m. ET and the UNOH 225 at 8 p.m. ET. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR radio channel 90.

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