Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) champion, Matt Crafton, defied history once again, winning Friday night's Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, KS. The Slim Jim®/Menards driver earned his seventh career victory and became the series' first repeat winner in 15 NCWTS races at the 1.5-mile oval.
Crafton, who started second, wasn't the fastest driver on Friday night, but he proved to be the lucky one. "Some days you're lucky, some days you're good," said Crafton as he crossed the stripe and clenched the win.
The ThorSport Racing driver maintained a position inside the top-two through the races first 60 laps before being forced down pit road for a lengthy stop on lap 67 for a vibration. While most teams on pit road opted for two tires, the No. 88 Menards team was forced to take four tires, losing valuable time and track position on pit road. Restarting 10th at lap 71, Crafton was able to work his way back inside the top-five by lap 100 before making his final stop on pit road at lap 111, under caution, for four tires and fuel.
As the laps started winding down in the Toyota Tundra 250, fuel mileage was the buzz on pit road. Crafton, who was told by his crew chief Carl "Junior" Joiner that he couldn't make it on fuel, was running fourth with five laps to go in the 167-lap event when the leaders began pulling to the apron with empty fuel cells. One by one, the top-three drivers slowed on the race track and Crafton was able to cruise to his seventh career victory with only drops left in his tank.
"You've got to be close enough to sneak one out once in a while," said Crafton. "I've lost some like this, so every once in a while, when you steal one, I don't feel too bad about it."
The victory was the second of the season for Crafton, and his second in the last three NCWTS races at Kansas.
"I said when we took the checkered flag that I would rather be lucky than good sometimes and we definitely were tonight. We definitely didn't have the fastest truck - I felt we had the second-fastest truck and just lost track position. I had a bad vibration at one point and took four (tires) and a lot of people took two or no tires. That got us back there. I could catch those guys, but it was just super, super tough to pass. You have to be close enough to be able to sneak one out every once in a while and I've lost them on things like this. Every once in a while when we steal one, I don't feel too bad about it."