Matt Crafton Race Recap:
Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Black Label Bacon/Menards Toyota Tundra, made his 16th career start at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS) in Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season finale. As one of four drivers competing in the inaugural Championship 4 Chase, Crafton entered the 134-lap race as the only past champion, looking for his third title since 2013.
Starting seventh, the ThorSport Racing driver showed his strength throughout the 134-lap event. Battling a Menards Toyota Tundra that was, "free-in." Crew chief Carl "Junior" Joiner brought the No. 88 machine to pit road four times throughout the night for four tires, and fuel. Crafton, who led the field three times for 10 laps, and was the only Chase driver to lead the field, restarted second following his final pit stop of the night, with 20 laps to go.
In the final 20 laps, an intense battle on the race track with fellow Chase driver, Johnny Sauter heated up, and Crafton's Menards Toyota Tundra swung to the tight side, forcing the ThorSport Racing driver to lose valuable track position, and ultimately a shot at the series title. Crafton would cross the stripe in the seventh position behind race winner, William Byron. The top-10 result was the Menards drivers eighth top-10 finish at the 1.5-mile track.
Crafton closes out the 2016 season second in the Chase standings with two wins, eight top-five, and 16 top-10 finishes.
Matt Crafton Quote:
What was the difference on that last run tonight?
"Johnny (Sauter) gave the 29 a really good push and we got by him, but just a little too tight there on that run for whatever reason. We put tires on it, made small adjustments all night, and got it better the second stop. The second to last stop it got a little free-in, and then right there on that last stop it got really tight getting into the corner for whatever reason, and that's what killed us. We fought hard and just came up a little short."