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Jun 28, 2014 - 07:07 AM
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2014 Kentucky: Matt Crafton NASCAR Truck Race Recap
Posted by: newsla on Jun 28, 2014 - 07:02 AM
2014 Kentucky: Matt Crafton NASCAR Truck Race Recap

Matt Crafton and the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards team entered the eighth race on the 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule at Kentucky Speedway looking for redemption following a season-worst 26th-place finish at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill. Crafton endured a "wicked loose" Toyota Tundra and a broken side skirt, which plagued the handling of the Menard's yellow machine in the opening laps. The ThorSport Racing driver was able to persevere and rebounded in style with a sixth-place finish inThursday night's UNOH 225. The solid effort was the 2013 reigning series champions' 11th top-10 finish at Kentucky Speedway, the most of any other driver in the series.


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Starting 11th, Crafton was quickly plagued with issues when the side skirt on the left side of his Tundra sheared off in the opening laps, bringing out the first caution of the night for debris on the backstretch. Although the unfortunate circumstance dramatically hurt the down force and handling on the No. 88 machine, it didn't hurt Crafton's position on the race track and his drive to find victory lane for the third time this season.

Continuing to search for the edge he needed to drive to the front, Crafton eventually came down pit road on lap 61 under caution to repair the side skirt on his ThorSport Racing machine. Unfortunately, the handling didn't improve, and Crafton was scored a race-low 15th just past the half-way mark in the 150-lap event. Crew chief Carl Joiner made one last attempt to improve on the Tundra when the fifth caution flag was displayed on lap 100. Crafton came down pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Restarting sixth on lap 103, the Tulare, California native raced between fourth and eighth in the closing laps to cross the stripe sixth behind race winner Kyle Busch.

• Crafton spent 99.3% of laps attempted in the top-15 (149/150)
• Crafton's sixth-place finish was his 11th top-10 at Kentucky Speedway
• In 2014, Crafton has led 222 laps en route to two wins, four top-five and five top-10 finishes
• The UNOH 225 was the 10th straight win for Toyota, dating back to Phoenix International Raceway (November 2013) when Erik Jones visited victory lane - marking the longest active win streak by any manufacturer in the NCWTS
• Crafton gained three points on teammate Johnny Sauter following his sixth-place finish at Kentucky Speedway and remain second in the 2014 NCWTS point standings
"I don't know what it was, or where we missed it, but this Menards team never gave up. We made more changes on this truck tonight than ever before and made it better at the end; but we still weren't close. It was a hard fought night and the damage to the left side definitely hurt our free-in handling condition we had battled most of the day. It wasn't the night we wanted but we will take it and move on to Iowa in a couple weeks."

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