He has won the championship the past two years and on Saturday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Matt Crafton showed that he will be a heavy threat once again this year. He would dominate the Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 en route to scoring his sixth career Camping World Truck Series victory.
“I was really, really disappointed with qualifying,” Crafton said. “It didn’t have a lot of single-lap speed by itself, but once they dropped the green and this thing took off and ran three laps, I’m like, ‘We’ve got something for these boys. They’re in trouble today.'”
He would take the lead early in the event on lap 46, and maintained the lead through the following two sets of pit stops.
Ty Dillon would finish second, just over nine seconds behind Crafton, after running up front throughout the night, commenting post-race that he was proud of his GMS Racing team, but knew they had a lot of work to do moving forward.
“We just came up a little short in both races today,” Dillon added. “All in all, it was a good run. We battled hard. Wish we could have reset the field there. If we would’ve had a caution, we might’ve had a shot.”
Ben Kennedy would finish third, tying his best career finish in his second race with Red Horse Racing.
“It feels like a win, especially after last weekend,” Kennedy commented. “Hopefully, that’s a little bit of a taste of what this year will be all about.”
Daniel Saurez would finish fourth in only his second career Camping World Truck Series start, with Daytona winner Tyler Reddick rounding out the top-five.
Johnny Sauter finished sixth, followed by Erik Jones. Jones had the potential to challenge Crafton for the victory, but found himself in the back half of the top 10 after sliding through his pit stall twice. Timothy Peters finished eighth as the first truck one lap down, followed by Joe Nemechek and Ryan Sieg.
Brad Keselowski would finish 14th after falling all the way back to 29th, two laps down at one point, due to having to pit out of sequence under green and being penalized for sliding through too many pit stalls.
Coming off of a top-five finish last week at Daytona, Ray Black Jr. had no luck this weekend at Atlanta as he spun early in the race, before heading to pit road with smoke trailing with three laps to go. While there were three cautions throughout the race, Cody Ware is the only driver that made contact with the wall, causing heavy front end damage to his truck.