Crafton Wins WinStar World Casino & Resort 400

Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck SerIes champion Matt Crafton led a career-best 118 laps to propel him to victory Fridayevening in the WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.

 

After 26 previous starts and three near misses with runner-up finishes, Crafton (No. 88 Slim Jim/Menards Toyota) finally broke through for his first career victory at Texas Motor Speedway in dominant fashion.

 

Crafton led 118 of the 167 laps - the most he has led in a single race in his 14-year career  - and cruised to a 13.302-second victory over runner-up, polesitter Justin Lofton (No. 20 NTS Motorsports Chevrolet). It was the fifth win of Crafton's career and second of the season, marking the first time in his career he has recorded multiple wins in a single season.

 

The only drama remaining late in the race was whether Crafton would be able to go the final 61 laps without a pit stop. While other contenders were forced to pit for a splash of fuel inside of 10 laps remaining, Crafton stayed out, conserved fuel and watched a 3.8-second lead morph into his double-digit margin of victory that established a track record for the series. The previous mark was 11.817 seconds set by Dennis Setzer in this event in 2004.

 

Crafton, who started second, had a strong truck from the outset but it didn't appear initially that he would coast to a victory. Ryan Blaney (No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford), who led 45 laps and finished fourth, and Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 30 Ruud Chevrolet), who finished sixth, were his chief competition until 10 to go and they were forced to pit. Crafton took the lead from Blaney on Lap 112 and led the final 56 laps for the win over Lofton.

 

Joe Nemechek (No. 8 smokeandsear.com Toyota), with 42 combined NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series career starts at Texas Motor Speedway, was on a different sequence then the leaders and took third in his first truck series start at Texas.

 

The victory allowed Crafton to take the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship points lead. Crafton, who came into Texas one point behind Timothy Peters (No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota), exits with an 11-point lead over Johnny Sauter (No. 98 Nextant/Curb Records Toyota), who finished seventh.

 

The race weekend culminates at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday evening when the Verizon IndyCar Series competes in the Firestone 600. Race time is 7:30 p.m. CT.

 

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