Matt Crafton - 2017 Daytona Recap
Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Goof Off/Menards Toyota Tundra made his 17th career start at Daytona (Fl.) International Speedway in Friday night's NextEra Energy Resources 250. The two-time champion, who is still looking for his first win at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, had the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) field in his rearview mirror coming out of Turn 2, on the final lap, and looked poised to take home the checkered flag when his Tundra was clipped in the right rear going down the backstretch. The chain of events ultimately sent his Menards machine airborne, causing the "Big One," and relegating the ThorSport Racing driver to a 14th-place finish in the 18th annual event.
Starting seventh in the 100-lap event, Crafton avoided a multi-truck wreck on lap two, to finish 13th in the first Segment of NASCAR's new race format, and navigated his way back from a speeding penalty, following the first Segment break, to finish 18th in the second segment. Restarting the third segment in the 12th position, Crafton utilized the draft to make his way back to the front of the field. With four laps remaining, the fifth caution of the night was displayed, setting the field up for a green-white-checker flag finish. Restarting fifth, Crafton worked with his ThorSport Racing teammates to get his Menards Tundra to the front of the field. In what looked like it would be a ThorSport Racing 1-2-3 finish on the last lap, ended in a 12-truck pile-up on the backstretch. Crafton, would be credited with a 14th-place finish behind race winner, Kaz Grala.
What happened on the final lap of the race?
"I was coming off turn two and I was like, 'I'm going to win this race, I'm going to win this race. I got my Daytona jinx off of me.' Then, all of the sudden I looked in the mirror and I saw the 27 (Ben Rhodes) get turned and I'm like, 'Just don't let him get in the right rear of me.' My teammate, Ben Rhodes gave me the push to win that race, and I got out so far going through the tri-oval, and then I got hooked, and then I felt light. It's been a long time since I've been in the air. I saw lights and we had the wrong side down boys. All-in-all we had a very fast Menards Toyota Tundra and NASCAR does a great job with all this safety equipment for us to be able to walk away from this like we did."
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