Camping World Trucks - Crafton Preview - Homestead
FINISHING UP: Matt Crafton and the No. 88 Menards/Tarkett team head to sunny Homestead-Miami Speedway for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finale. Crafton has 10 previous starts at the 1.5-mile oval, with two top-five and five top-10 finishes and an average finish of 11.4. Crafton earned his best finish at the track when he was the runner up in the 2009 Homestead event, and he took the sixth spot in his last visit to the South Florida facility.
SUM IT UP: With 24 out of 25 races in the books, Crafton can look back at 2011 with a long list of positive season statistics. Crafton led the championship standings for three weeks (after races two, three and six), has one win (Iowa Speedway), two pole awards (Michigan International Speedway and Martinsville Speedway II), five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. He has led 88 laps, earned an average start of 9.8 and an average finish of 12.8.
COMING UP: After making the announcement in September that he would be returning to ThorSport Racing's No. 88 truck in 2012, Crafton's off-season will be less silly season and more wedding season. Crafton and fiancée Ashley Greer will tie the knot in a January ceremony in Mexico before returning to the garage in February as Mr. and Mrs. Crafton.
BUY IT UP: Matt Crafton merchandise makes a great Christmas present for the race fans in your life. Even though the season is over, there's still plenty of time to head over to http://store.thorsport.com or click the Merchandise tab on ThorSport.com to find gear for Crafton all of the ThorSport Racing drivers.
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 88 team will utilize chassis No. 41 this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This is the chassis Crafton drove to the pole earlier in the season at Michigan International Speedway. More recently, Crafton drove this truck to a second-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in October and a fifth-place finish in this month's event at Texas Motor Speedway.
PREVIOUS RACE RECAP: Crafton earned a fifth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway after handling issues plagued the No. 88 Menards/Fisher Nuts team for a majority of the evening. Falling as far back as 18th, Crafton rallied back from outside the top 10 in the closing laps, bringing home his fifth top-five of 2011.
THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER: Matt Crafton
How do you feel about Homestead-Miami Speedway?
"I really like Homestead and we've been really good there the last two years. I love that you can run right down on the white line or right up on the wall. Our team does really well on the mile-and-a-half tracks and we've had great finishes with the chassis we're bringing in the last two intermediate races. I'd really like to finish up this season on a positive note with a win."
What are your thoughts on the 2011 season?
"This season has had a lot of ups and downs, but overall I think we can look at 2011 as a good year. It certainly isn't exactly what we wanted, we'd much rather be up there fighting for the championship with our teammate, but we had some really good moments. Winning the race at Iowa earlier this season was huge for me and my guys, and the poles we won at Michigan and Martinsville were big too. We had a few stretches where we had some really bad luck, and we'd definitely be in the fight if we hadn't had those issues. But we led the points for a while there at the beginning of the season and we've got a lot to show for this season. I'm really hoping that we can leave Homestead with a championship for ThorSport Racing and hopefully next year it will be our turn."
What are your off-season plans?
"Every year after Thanksgiving my fiancée Ashley and I head out to the desert to play with the sand rail. I'm really looking forward to that, especially since I just got my brand new buggy last month and I didn't get a lot of time to drive it when we were out in Las Vegas. Then after the holidays we've got our wedding down in Mexico and our honeymoon. By the time we get back, it will practically be time to start racing again."