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Jul 24, 2014 - 04:07 PM
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2014 Eldora: Matt Crafton NASCAR Truck Race Recap
Posted by: newsla on Jul 24, 2014 - 04:03 PM
2014 Eldora: Matt Crafton NASCAR Truck Race Recap

The 2nd annual 1-800-CarCash Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH is one of NASCAR's most unique and anticipated events of the season. The 10th event on the 2014 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) schedule presents the competitors with numerous challenges, and Matt Crafton's IDEAL Door/Menards team overcame numerous obstacles to score a ninth-place finish at "The Big E." Crafton's seventh top-10 finish of the season came a year after he scored an eighth-place finish in the inaugural event at Eldora Speedway, but the 2014 running required the No. 88 IDEAL Door/Menards team to "dig" for every position.


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By way of his qualifying lap, Crafton started Heat Race 4 from the pole and finished second in the 10-lap qualifying event, lining the Tulare, CA driver up in the ninth position for the main event. The ThorSport Racing driver immediately battled a lack of forward bite in his Toyota Tundra in the early stages of the 150-lap event. With trucks utilizing every inch of the half-mile clay oval, Crafton's handling made it difficult to advance through the maze of traffic. Describing his Tundra as "riding a dolphin in the water", Crafton felt a lot of movement in his No. 88 machine. When the first competition caution was displayed at lap-62, Crafton was scored in the 16th position. The pre-designated competition caution could not have come at a more "IDEAL" time; the Carl Joiner-led crew found a broken shock on the Toyota Tundra during a scheduled pit stop. Along with replacing the shock, the team made numerous adjustments to help give Crafton the forward bite he was seeking.

The adjustments aided Crafton's Tundra and helped him move through the field after being buried as far back as 17th. The 2014 NCWTS reigning champion drove his way into the top-10 by the time the second scheduled competition caution fell at lap-112. While the truck was more competitive now, after the first round of adjustments, it still was not to Crafton's liking and the team elected to pit, as they felt they were not in position to win with what they had. The ThorSport Racing veteran driver restarted in the 17th position and utilized the bottom line to drive through the field in the closing laps. When the dust settled, Crafton would come across the line ninth, scoring his second consecutive top-10 finish at Eldora Speedway.

• Crafton posted the fourth and 16th-quickest laps, respectively, during the two practice sessions held on Wednesday at Eldora Speedway
• Crafton started on the pole in the fourth Heat Race and finished second
• The No. 88 IDEAL Door/Menards Toyota Tundra started ninth in the main event
• Crafton's ninth-place finish at Eldora Speedway is his second top-10 finish at the half-mile clay oval and his seventh top-10 finish of the 2014 NCWTS season
• According to NASCAR's Loop Data Statistics, Crafton had an Average Running Position of 12.64 in the 2014 running of the Mudsummer Classic
• Crafton fell to second in the 2014 NCWTS driver point standings, a mere four points behind leader Ryan Blaney
• Darrell Wallace Jr. won the 2nd annual 1-800-CarCash Mudsummer Classic, his third victory in 32 starts
• There were 17 cautions for 33 laps and five lead changes by five different drivers
• Ron Hornaday Jr., Ryan Blaney, Ken Schrader and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-five finishers
• Wallace Jr's win at Eldora solidified the 12th-consecutive victory for manufacturer Toyota, dating back to Phoenix International Raceway last November
• Up next: Crafton will make his fifth start at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in the in the Pocono Mountains150 on Saturday, August 2

Quote - Matt Crafton:
"We missed it a little tonight. The second run we were at our best. We came in at the end of the second segment and I thought we were going to help it, but wound up hurting the truck with the adjustments we made. Traffic was real hairy all night and it was hard to go anywhere to gain track position. All in all, we're glad to get out of here with a decent finish."

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