Early Issues Result in 23rd-Place Finish for Matt Crafton at Kentucky
Matt Crafton and the No. 88 team rallied back from mechanical issues on the first lap to finish 23rd at Kentucky Speedway. After being forced into the garage immediately after the green flag due to a bad vibration, the team quickly repaired the Menards/Ideal Door Chevrolet and returned to the track, earning back several laps and gaining many valuable positions before taking the checkered flag in the Kentucky 225.
After laying down the sixth fastest lap in qualifying, Crafton was relegated to the back of the pack for the green flag for an engine and transmission change prior to the start of the race. Immediately after the green flag waved, Crafton relayed to crew chief Bud Haefele that he had a terrible vibration, and Haefele quickly directed the No. 88 Chevrolet Silverado to the garage on lap two.
Crafton and crew quickly diagnosed the problem and got to work on a gear and drive shaft change. Fortunately, a long caution on lap five bought the team some extra time, and Crafton was able to return to the track when green flag racing resumed on lap 13. Now 11 laps down and mired in the 36th position, Crafton and the No. 88 crew were determined to make the best of their night, and a caution on lap 22 allowed the team to remain on the track as the leaders pitted, resulting in Crafton earning back one of his laps due to the wave around. A quick string of cautions put Crafton in the lucky dog position, earning him two more laps back as the free pass beneficiary.
Despite being eight laps down, Crafton's truck was one of the fastest on the track, allowing him to make up position after position. While other drivers showed their inexperience by crashing out of the race, Crafton raced smart to advance through the field, ultimately making up 13 spots to finish 23rd.
"I've got to thank my guys tonight," said Crafton. "They worked really hard to make the motor and transmission change prior to the race, and they were really quick to change out the gear and drive shaft in the garage. On top of that, they continued to make good pit stops throughout the race and improve our truck. This wasn't the finish we wanted, by far, but we still had a really fast truck tonight and we learned a lot about the setup which will help us in the upcoming intermediate track races."
ThorSport Racing PR