Alternator Issues Plague Matt Crafton at Martinsville
Matt Crafton was headed for a top-10 day in the No. 88 Menards/Ideal Door Toyota Tundra, but an alternator issue surfaced in the first half of the race and continued to trouble the team for the remainder of the event, resulting in a 24th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway.
Taking the green flag from the 11th position, Crafton moved into the top 10 by lap four and continued to chip away at the front of the pack taking over the sixth position on lap 27. Crafton held the spot for the next 40 laps until he relayed to his crew that the tachometer behaving erratically on lap 67. To manage a potential power issue, Crafton turned off all of the truck's blowers, but he slipped to the 11th spot before the caution flag waved on lap 76.
Determining that the truck's battery was not charging due to an alternator problem, the ThorSport Racing crew made two pit stops to replace the battery and provide four fresh tires. Emerging from the pits in 26th, Crafton was one lap down, but the team believed that the new battery would last the duration of the race regardless of malfunctioning alternator.
By lap 100, Crafton had advanced to 23rd and was poised in the lucky dog position. When the yellow flag waved 12 laps later, the No. 88 earned its place back on the lead lap. After pitting for four tires and fuel, Crafton took the green flag from the tail end of the longest line and began his fight toward the front of the field. Despite the scorching heat inside the truck due to the lack of blowers, Crafton soldiered on, entering the top 15 on lap 170. With his truck's handling coming to him, Crafton was on his way to breaking into the top 10 when his truck's battery suddenly died, leaving him without power.
When he coasted into the pits, the team performed a quick battery change, but without a caution to slow the field, Crafton went four laps down before returning to the racetrack. Unable to overcome the deficit in the remaining laps, Crafton took the checkered flag in the 24th position.
"We had a really good truck today and we just had an alternator go bad," said Crafton. "We worked really hard to get back on the lead lap and we thought the replacement battery was going to make it to the end, but it came up a little short. I was so happy with the truck, and the guys worked really hard, this was just out of our control."
The trucks return to action in two weeks when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series makes its debut at Rockingham Speedway on April 15th.