For the first time in his 16-year NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) career, Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota Tundra, has three wins in one season. In fact, it wasn't until 2014 that the ThorSport Racing driver earned two wins in one season. As the model of consistency in 2015, leading 296 laps, at least one lap in the series' first seven races, and the only driver with a top-10 finish in every race this year, the two-time NCWTS champion is poised for a third consecutive championship title with a 25-point lead on second-place in the driver point standings.
As the NCWTS races into St. Louis, for Saturday's Drivin' for Linemen 200 at Gateway (Ill.) Motorsports Park, the two-time champion is optimistic for the series return to the 1.25-mile track. Crafton, who started 11th in 2014, led the field for 11 laps until a right-front tire blew on the No. 88 Toyota Tundra, forcing him into the Turn 4 wall, and relegating the Menards driver to a 26th-place finish.
In 11 starts at Gateway Motorsports Park, the most starts of any other driver entered in the 15th annual event, Crafton has led 11 laps en route to one top-five, and seven top-10 finishes. In fact, the ThorSport Racing driver has more lead lap finishes (8), more top-10 finishes (7), and has completed more laps (1737) than another other driver entered. Furthermore, according to NASCAR's Loop Data statistics, Crafton is ranked first in Fastest Laps Run (22), Closers (10 positions gained), and Laps in the Top 15 (782). If experience prevails, look for Matt Crafton to arch his way into victory lane on Saturday.
Sounding off - Matt Crafton:
"We're happy with our points lead for sure, but definitely not satisfied," said Matt Crafton, following his win at Texas Motor Speedway. "There is still a lot of racing to do; we aren't even half-way through the season yet. We'll be satisfied when we get to Homestead."
"I'm looking forward to the series' return to Gateway this weekend. I was excited when they added it to the schedule last year and glad it's back this year. It's a great short track with a lot of speed. We had a really, really strong truck there, and had the tire problem which was unfortunate."