|Sandusky, Ohio (Nov. 4, 2014) – Although the central California town of Tulare, home of Matt Crafton, is more than 500 miles from Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway (PIR), site of Fridaynight’s Lucas Oil 150, the defending series champion and current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) point leader calls the one-mile oval a “hometown” race. Crafton, who got his start in the Southwest Tour, a highly competitive regional series that proved to be a breeding ground for several NASCAR stars including four-time NCWTS champion Ron Hornaday, Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, has made numerous laps around the Avondale, Ariz. track. The Menards driver spent four seasons in the Featherlite Southwest Series, racing at PIR, known as the circuits “Daytona,” and won the championship title in 2000, opening the door to his career in NASCAR, racing for Duke and Rhonda Thorson.
To date, the ThorSport Racing driver has made 13 starts at PIR in the NCWTS producing four top-five and nine top-10 finishes and according to NASCAR’s Loop Data Statistics ranks first in Laps in the Top 15 category with 1241. In fact, of the 35 drivers entered in Friday night’s 150-lap event, Crafton has the most starts (13), most top-five (4) and top-10 finishes (9), most laps completed (1956) and most lead lap finishes (12). Crafton hopes that experience equals results with only two races remaining before the conclusion of the 2014 season. With a 23-point lead on the competition, a win at PIR, a track where it all started, could be history in the making for the reigning series champion.
Sounding Off – Matt Crafton:
“It’s definitely a tricky oval – especially since they changed it, put the new asphalt on it. There’s an entirely new element to the place, tires don’t fall off nearly like they used to. Turns 1 and 2 are the same, but the dogleg is very different and I’m not such a big fan of it compared to the old configuration. Phoenix is like a home track to me. I’ve got a ton of laps around there since the late 90’s – when I raced a late model around there. We finished fifth there last year trying to protect the points lead and wrap up the championship, so hopefully we can get a win there this year in front of all our friends and family that come out for this race.”
Crafton’s PIR Stats:
Crafton’s Phoenix International Raceway NCWTS Performance Profile:
Matt Crafton 2014:
Crafton’s Career Truck Series Stats:
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|ABOUT THORSPORT RACING:
ThorSport Racing, based in a state-of-the-art 100,000-square-foot facility in Sandusky, Ohio, is the longest-tenured NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. ThorSport, which has run in the Truck Series since 1996, in 2014 will run the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra driven by 2013 drivers’ champion Matt Crafton, the No. 98 Nextant Aerospace/Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff/Carolina Nut Co./Curb Records Toyota Tundra driven by Johnny Sauter and the No. 13 Carolina Nut Co. Toyota Tundra driven by Jeb Burton in the Truck Series and the No. 13 Toyota Camry in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards.