Matt Crafton Reverses His Fortune and Out-Wheels Austin Dillon to Win at Iowa Speedway

Matt Crafton and the No. 88 Menards/Ideal Door Chevrolet team began the Coca-Cola 200 presented by Hy-Vee with one mantra: "today is the new tomorrow." After four straight finishes outside the top-15 due to on-track incidents and an engine failure, the team was determined to turn around their luck in the 11th race of the season. After fighting an extremely loose truck early in the evening, stellar pit stops, the right adjustments and patient determination led to Crafton taking the checkered flag at Iowa Speedway.

Taking the green flag from the 11th position, Crafton immediately relayed to crew chief Bud Haefele that the No. 88 machine was extremely loose and stepping out. The first caution of the night waved at lap 12 with Crafton in the 10th spot, but the team determined that it was too early to visit pit road. The field returned to green flag racing on lap 15, but was once again slowed by a yellow on lap 18. Still in the 10th position, Crafton stated that the truck was "eight to nine loose" on a scale of 1-10, but once again the No. 88 team opted to maintain track position and remain on the track.

Restarting on lap 22, Crafton immediately made the pass for ninth, initiating a fast march to the front of the field. Within 10 laps, Crafton was running in the seventh position, and by the third caution of the day on lap 65, Crafton had entered the top five. Crafton explained that the handling of the truck had come to him, and that he did not require the wholesale changes they had anticipated at the beginning of the race. The team serviced the No. 88 machine with four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment.

Returning to the track in the fifth position, Crafton was patient and disciplined once green flag racing resumed on lap 71. Slipping to seventh on lap 81, Crafton remained focused on hitting his marks and maintaining momentum, and on lap 111 he re-entered the top five and never looked back. Crafton was running fourth when the final caution of the night waved on lap 154, bringing the Menards/Ideal Door Chevrolet Silverado into the pits for four tires, fuel and another minor air-pressure adjustment. The team provided one of the fastest stops on pit road all evening, sending Crafton back onto the track in fourth for the lap 161 restart.

It took only one lap for Crafton to dart to the front of the field, quickly pulling away from his competitors. He relinquished the lead only briefly in a battle with Austin Dillon, but Crafton clearly had the truck and the determination to re-take the lead on lap 188, maintaining it until the checkered flag waved.

"This win was exactly what we needed," said Crafton in victory lane. "This means so much to me, the team and all the sponsors that support us. This is really a huge momentum-builder for the team. In the last four weeks, anything that could have gone wrong did, and now here we are in victory lane. Our truck was really loose at the beginning, but once it came to me, we only needed minor air pressure adjustments for the rest of the night."

Crafton's win was the second of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career, his first since his victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway 79 races ago. Crafton gained three points in the driver standings, and is currently ranked fifth, 44 points out of the championship lead.

ThorSport PR

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