Consistency has propelled Matt Crafton to the top spot of the leaderboards by a big margin of 41 points over last year’s champion James Buescher. Over the next two-weeks that points margin could fade away as we approach Talladega and Martinsville, the wildcard races.
Crafton will start 22nd in the Fred’s 250 presented by Coca-Cola. The 22nd starting position will most likely force the Tulare, California native to drop to the back and avoid the mayhem in front of him. That’s not always the case because there is the possibility of a crackup before you can reach the back of the pack.
"We've just got to keep doing what we've been doing -- we can't go to a points-racing mode or just riding around or anything stupid like that," Crafton said. "We've just got to keep on doing what we've been doing, which is racing to win each and every week -- being aggressive when we can be -- but above all, being smart.
James Buescher on the other hand will start 4th for today’s event. The No. 31 team has railed back from multiple DNF’S to be in contention for the championship; they can’t lose that all in Talladega. As soon as the green flag drops Buescher will have cut Crafton’s lead in half.
"Unlike some drivers, I am really looking forward to returning to Talladega this weekend A lot of people think this is a wild card event, but I am looking at this weekend as another opportunity for my Turner Scott Motorsports team to gain ground in the points” said Buescher “My team has a good track record at the superspeedways; I hope we are able to stay out of trouble and be in position to grab our third win of the season."
Ty Dillion sits 3rd in points and with his future painted out he could possibly start taking risks to get the wins he needs to close the 53 point deficit between him and Crafton. Dillion will roll off from the 5th starting position, right behind Kyle Busch. Dillion’s mindset will be to just avoid the big one and win; much easier said then done.
While 35 other racers are stuck back in traffic Jeb Burton rolls off from the pole in hopes of his 2nd career win. The son of Ward Burton has been impressive with Turner-Scott Motorsports this year, winning at Texas Motor Speedway and snatching 6-poles. Jeb currently rides 4th in points over 70 points back. The rookie is hoping to sweep the wildcard races at Talladega and Martinsville and get back in contention for the gold.
"I'm looking forward to racing at Talladega for the plain reason that it's Dega. As excited as I am to get back on a racetrack and compete, this weekend will really be all about luck.” Said Burton “We'll either have it on our side or we won't. We ran good in this truck at Daytona, so we'll give it another shot this weekend and hope for the best. A lot of things are riding on this wild card race."