Crafton completes 1-2 Thorsport finish
Matt Crafton completed a near perfect afternoon for ThorSport Racing at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn, posting his third runner-up finish of the 2014 season in the Careers for Veterans 200 on Saturday. The Great Lakes Wood Floors /Menards Toyota driver continued the consistent performances that have seen him run up front all season long and vaulted into second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) point standings. The second-place result is Crafton's career best at MIS, and his sixth top-five finish of 2014.
Crafton's afternoon began from the 14th position, and the ThorSport Racing driver quickly moved towards the front of the field at the drop of the green flag. The race's only yellow flag was displayed on lap nine, as Crafton muscled his way into the top-10. With a lengthy cleanup, the caution period proved to be a pivotal moment in the event. Ever mindful of fuel strategy, crew chief Carl Joiner called Crafton to pit road for Sunoco fuel on lap 11 which set up pit strategy that would carry the Menards Toyota team through to the scheduled distance.
By lap 22 Crafton had cracked the top-five, radioing in to the Menards team that his Toyota Tundra was, "snug, but maintained good lateral bite." The No. 88 team's only four-tire pit stop came just past the halfway mark, and Joiner adjusted the tight condition on corner exit. By pitting later than most of the other front-runners, Crafton was able to cycle through to fifth and led twice for a total of seven laps before his final pit stop on lap 95. Blending off of pit road and onto the racing surface following that final stop, Crafton drag-raced ThorSport Racing teammate and eventual race winner, Johnny Sauter, down the backstretch for the race lead with three laps remaining. Ultimately, Crafton trailed Sauter by mere truck lengths at the checkered flag.
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