2017 Texas Fall Race Preview

Chatting with Matt Crafton…

What are the keys to running well at Texas Motor Speedway?
“Having a truck you can run around on the bottom – the new asphalt will offer a lot of grip. Hopefully, the second groove will start rubbering-up, and we’ll be able to run side-by-side, like you used to be able to do at Texas before they repaved it. We’ve only been on it once, and it was kind of an unknown – it will be an unknown this week too because it will be a lot cooler this time than when we were there earlier this season. Power, aero, handling, and good restarts are what you need to run well at Texas.”

      (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Has this new Playoff format changed you at all in terms of how you approach these races?
“I know everyone says, ‘win and you’re in,’ but you only have three races, so yes, one of those three races can make you, or break you. If you finish 20th one week, and two second-place finishes the next, you can still be eliminated. The margin for error with this format is so much smaller. At this point in the season, with the new format, you’ve really got to be on your game, and not make mistakes.”

Notes:

  • This Week’s No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota Tundra… The No. 88 ThorSport Racing team will unload chassis No. 58 for Friday night’s JAG Metals 350 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). This is the same chassis Matt Crafton has piloted to four top-10 finishes this season – Texas Motor Speedway (9th), Kentucky Speedway (8th), Michigan International Speedway (6th), and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (7th).
  • Texas-Sized Stats… Crafton has 33 starts at Texas Motor Speedway. The ThorSport Racing driver’s success includes three poles, and 424 laps led en route to two wins (June, 2014/June, 2015), 13 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes.
  • Intermediate Track Facts… No current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) driver is better at Intermediate-size tracks (1.5-miles) than Crafton. The ThorSport Racing driver has more starts (126), second-place finishes (13), top-five (41), and top-10 finishes (79), than any other NCWTS driver entering Friday’s 40th annual event at TMS.
  • Round of 6… Crafton, who is currently third in the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Playoffs, is looking to lock himself in to the Championship 4 on Friday night at TMS. With the top-four drivers transferring to the Championship 4, following Phoenix International Raceway on November 10, the Menards driver needs to win, or maintain a top-four position in points, to race for the title in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway later this month.
  • Season Stats… In 20 starts this season, the ThorSport Racing driver has one win (Eldora), one pole (Michigan), and has led 316 laps en route to five top-five, and 14 top-10 finishes.
  • Career Stats…In 404 NCWTS starts, Crafton has earned 13 poles, and led 2451 laps en route to 14 wins, 102 top-five, and 240 top-10 finishes.

Team Stats:
2017 Driver Point Standings: 3rd
2017 Owner Point Standings: 3rd
2017 Playoff Position: 3rd