Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Menards/Ideal Door Chevrolet Silverado, fought loose conditions and a mid-race pit road unavoidable accident to power home in the 18th position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway. With ten previous starts, four top tens and a career best fifth place finish here - Crafton had solid practice runs Friday plus some impressive loop statistics on track despite the disappointing finish. He sits fourth in overall NCWTS driver points going into Texas Motor Speedway.
"We just struggled all day; it's all I can say. I wanted to post a higher qualifying time (17th), but we were working pretty heavily on our setups during practice. It happens. I was solidly running in fourth to sixth there for a good stretch, and we even had the chance to lead a few laps there on a cycle, so we were gaining some momentum until the pit road crash happened."
Crafton encountered pit road contact with the No. 66 of Justin Marks, whose pit stall was adjacent to the No. 88 pit stall. "I was coming out, and Justin was coming in. It wasn't anyone's fault, it just happens and it's bad luck all around. It really did change our momentum, because the right front headlight was completely caved in and we had aerodynamic issues the rest of the race. My guys did their best on our pit road recovery time, putting as much Bondo fiberglass cloth tape on that thing as they could to get me back out there without vibrations - but it had a big effect on where we could run."
Despite the finish, several positives came out of the Kansas race. The veteran driver still showed he could post superior numbers - to include the second most green flag quality passes throughout the race - with 82 green flag passes after pass leader Kyle Busch. He also posted two of the fastest race lap times and raced 108 laps in the top 15 - even after the pit road crash - giving him 65% of the race in the critical top 15 range, which is important going into the summer series of Truck races. The No. 88 crew also posted the fastest pit stop times of the year during the race.
"I'm really proud of my team on getting me out there for track position in Kansas," Crafton continued. "I can't say enough about how hard they are working to get better each week on pit road, and it's really showing now as we're getting into the summer. We just need to regroup in general, not look backwards and focus this week on Texas. I run well there and I like the track, so we're pouring all of our time and energy into setting up that truck."