Matt Crafton Wins Pole at MIS, Gets Collected In Late-Race Incident

Matt Crafton clearly had the fastest truck in the field after taking the pole position by nearly half a second, but when a late-race wreck erupted in front of him, the No. 88 Menards/Schrock Chevrolet Silverado had nowhere to go, resulting in heavy right-front fender damage which ultimately took Crafton out of the race in the 21st position.

Taking the green flag from the point position, Crafton immediately pulled away from the field, moving 15 truck lengths ahead of second place after only four laps, and running way from the field when the first caution flag of the day waved on lap nine. Crafton radioed crew chief Bud Haefele that the Menards/Schrock machine was "just a hair to the snug side," but it was too early in the 100-lap race to visit pit road. Restarting on lap 11, the caution waved once again three laps later, but Crafton and crew opted to remain on track in order to maintain the lead position.

Restarting on lap 17, Crafton held the lead until lap 20, running in the top four as a long green-flag run unfolded. Crafton brought his truck down pit road under green on lap 38 in the 3rd position, and the crew serviced the No. 88 with four tires and fuel before sending him back on track. Once pit stops cycled through on lap 55, Crafton was in the fifth position and still on the move, taking away fourth on lap 59.

The long green-flag run continued, and Crafton moved into second as green flag pit stops began once again on lap 68. Running in third on lap 75, Haefele told Crafton to pit next time around, but before Crafton could complete his lap, he keyed the radio to tell the team he was out of fuel. Crafton coasted into the pits just as the caution waved for debris on lap 79, and the crew pumped the truck full of fuel and sent him back onto the track to catch up with the field. Crafton returned to his pit box when pit road opened for four tires and a top-off on gas.

Crafton was scored in 20th as the first truck one lap down when green-flag racing resumed on lap 83, and luck was on their side when the yellow flag waved on lap 87, allowing the No. 88 to take the free pass back onto the lead lap. Restarting in 18th on lap 90, Crafton and the Menards/Schrock team were determined to make the march back to the front of the field with their lightning-fast machine, but before Crafton had a chance to stretch his truck's legs, a spin at the front of the field unleashed a chain reaction, resulting in a major multi-truck wreck. With a truck sliding directly in front of him, Crafton had nowhere to go and made hard contact, tearing up the right-front fender of the Menards/Schrock Silverado.

Crafton brought the No. 88 Chevrolet to pit road to patch up the damage and return to the track to salvage a few positions, but the damage was too severe to complete the remaining laps, and Crafton was forced to retire nine laps before the scheduled finish, ultimately scoring the team in the 21st position.

"Today's finish was disappointing and definitely not what this team deserved after how well we ran, but we've got to walk away with the positives," said Crafton after the race. "This truck was ridiculously fast all day, and we were absolutely one of the best in the field. These guys have worked so hard this week, completing our brand new shop for the grand opening and building this fast truck. Now we've got to turn around and head to Bristol, and hopefully we'll get the finish we should have gotten today."

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has only a few short days off before heading to Bristol Motor Speedway for a race under the lights on Wednesday, August 24. Crafton remains sixth in the championship standings, 44 points behind leader and teammate Johnny Sauter.

ThorSports PR

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