Matt Crafton Battles Handing On Way to 11th-Place Finish

Matt Crafton battled the handling of the No. 88 Menards/Goof Off Chevrolet Silverado for the duration of the Lucas Deep Clean 200 before following up last week's win at Iowa Speedway with a top-15 finish. With long green flag runs and few cautions to make adjustments, Crafton fought hard to bring home an 11th-place finish.

Taking the green flag from the 15th position, Crafton quickly navigated up to 12th before the completion of the first lap. After a spin on the racetrack slowed the field on lap five, Crafton relayed to crew chief Bud Haefele that the No. 88 machine was tight off but not bad on entry. However, slipping back to 13th on lap 12, Crafton stated that the truck was getting tighter center off and anticipated that he would need a track bar adjustment on their first visit to pit road.

Green-flag conditions forced the team to pit under green while running in 10th place on lap 54, and Crafton exited pit road with four tires, fuel, a track-bar adjustment and an air-pressure adjustment. When pit stops cycled through on lap 59, Crafton was 12th, but he wheeled his truck back to 10th on lap 62.

Crafton told Haefele that their adjustments had freed up the truck in the center but that it didn't help exit. Crafton would have to hold out until lap 103 before a caution for debris allowed him to come to pit road for more adjustments. Entering the pits in 11th, the No. 88 crew gave Crafton four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment before sending him back out onto the track in 10th.

Green flag resumed on lap 106, but the yellow was quickly displayed again only two laps later for a fiery blown engine. Taking the green for the final time of the night, the racing quickly got intense, and Crafton went four wide to pass for the eighth position. Crafton remained 8th until lap 136, but he relayed that the right rear tire was "mad," and he was overtaken for eighth. Dropping two more spots on lap 140, Crafton held onto his top until three to go, furiously battling his competitors before taking the checkered flag in 11th.

"After the race we had last week, anything less than a win is disappointing," said Crafton after the race. "But unfortunately we just couldn't make it happen tonight. There were times when we were running laps faster than the leaders, but I had nothing in my right rear tire on that final run. The guys worked hard tonight, and I'm hoping we'll be able to bring the No. 88 Chevrolet to victory lane next week in Indianapolis.

ThorSport PR

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