Crafton exited for Charlotte, Rest

NASCAR Wire Service Friday, May 17 1296


The last time we saw the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was Saturday, April 20 at Kansas Speedway.

In that race, Matt Crafton passed Darrell Wallace Jr. with 30 laps to go and held on to the lead the rest of the way for the win. He celebrated with family, fans and teammates in Victory Lane, but six days later his life changed.

On April 26, his life was turned upside down and yet it was probably one of the best days of his life. He and his wife Ashley celebrated the arrival of their first child Elladee.

Sleep has evaded him since.

Aside from the normal adrenaline rush drivers get when heading to the race track for a race, when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series arrives at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Friday night's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 (8:00 p.m. ET, SPEED), Crafton will be looking forward to more than just getting back on the track.    

"I need to get back to racing, so I can get some rest," said Crafton, who took over first place in points from Johnny Sauter after his Kansas win. "I'm always excited to go to the race track -- but usually you go to the race track and you don't get much sleep because you're worried about everything, the night before the race -- you think about everything. This week, I'm excited to get to the race track so I can get some sleep."

In his ninth year with ThorSport Racing, Crafton is one of only two drivers this season to finish in the top 10 in each of the first four races. The other driver is Sauter. Aside from his win in the last race, he has a runner-up finish (Martinsville) and sixth- and ninth-place finishes.

Crafton has won three times, finished in the top five 58 times and in the top 10 160 times in 298 races. His best season was 2009, when he finished a career-best second in the points to Ron Hornaday Jr. Although he didn't find Victory Lane that year, he set career highs in top fives (11) and top 10s (21).

He's experienced success at Charlotte, where he won at in 2008. In 10 visits to the track, he's landed in the top 10 seven times and in the top 15 nine times. His only finish outside the top 15 was in 2011 when a three-car accident left him 26th at the end of the race.

His success at the 1.5-mile track is just one other reason why he's looking forward to getting back to racing.

"I'm super-excited about this Charlotte race -- even more than I usually am," said Crafton. "With all the momentum that the team's carrying into this race, I know the guys are still on cloud nine from the Kansas win and I'm up there with them, from the win and having our child. So I'm super-stoked about it."