NCWTS: MATT CRAFTON – 2016 DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY PREVIEW

Matt Crafton, No. 88 Slim Jim/Menards Toyota Tundra
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Daytona International Speedway – NextEra Energy Resources 250
Race No. 1 of 23
Team Information:
Crew Chief: Carl “Junior” Joiner
Manufacturer: Toyota
Engine: Triad Racing Technologies
2015 NCWTS driver point standings: 3rd
2015 NCWTS owner point standings: 3rd
Sounding Off – Matt Crafton:
Your headed back to Daytona, how do you feel?
“I look forward to coming to Daytona every year. We get to start off the season here, and just driving through the tunnel is extra special. Just seeing all the new improvements they’ve made to the track is incredible. I just look forward to getting back on the track Thursday.”
As a veteran driver, what do you think about the youth movement in the Truck Series?
“It’s going to be very interesting to see how all of them do here this weekend. It will be a huge learning curve for all of them – seeing how these trucks drive in the draft. These trucks drive so well by themselves, but when you go from being by yourself to in a pack, they change drastically. I’ve driven a cup car here now, and they change, but not as much as these trucks. I think that will be the biggest thing with these rookies. You can drive these Toyota Tundra’s with one hand by themselves and when you get in the pack, the air just moves you around so much. It will definitely throw them a curve ball, but hopefully everyone is smart and patient.”
ThorSport has grown over the off-season. What are the strengths of the organization coming into the new year?
“I couldn’t be more excited about the year and each and every one of my teammates, they are all three so pumped and ready to go. I can’t be more excited to get going myself, hopefully win a championship this year. I mean we won six races last year, and didn’t win a championship, which was pretty disgusting. Just truly one big mistake that cost us the championship. Hopefully, we can minimalize those mistakes and contend for a championship this year. With the new point system, it’s going to be interesting. I’ve had a successful career so far, but just winning more races is something I want to accomplish – winning at all the tracks, starting with Daytona, I’ve never won here.”
News & Notes:
  • Chassis Chatter… The No. 88 ThorSport Racing team will unload chassis No. 40 forFriday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). This is the same chassis the Menards driver piloted to an eighth-place finish at DIS, and a 24th-place finish at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in 2015. In fact, Crafton led a race-high 43 laps at Talladega Superspeedway before debris on the grill of the No. 88 Toyota Tundra demolished the ThorSport Racing driver’s solid showing.
  • The Down Low on Daytona… Although Crafton has more starts (15), has completed more laps (1407), and has the most lead lap finishes (7), than any other driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) at DIS, the two-time champion is still looking for his first win at the 2.5-mile track. In 15 starts since 2001, Crafton has scored one top-five and six top-10 finishes, with a track-best start of second (2009), and a track-best finish of fifth (2010).
  • Eye in the sky… NASCAR Sprint Cup Series spotter, Jason Hedlesky will be Crafton’s spotter again in 2016. Hedlesky currently spots for Carl Edwards.
  • Major Milestone… The Tulare, California native extended the NCWTS record for consecutive starts to 361 following the 2015 NCWTS season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway, passing four-time NCWTS champion Ron Hornaday, Jr with 360 starts. Crafton made his series debut at Auto Club Speedway in November 2000, and enters his 16th full-time season in the NCWTS, and his 15th full-time season with ThorSport Racing in 2016.
  • Getting Down & Dirty… When the two-time champ is not at DIS with his ThorSport Racing team, he will be participating in the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in his No. 46 DIRTcar UMP Modified.
  • 2015 Review…Crafton earned a career-best six wins, four poles, and led 771 laps en route to 13 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes, resulting in a third-place finish in the 2015 driver point standings with an average start of 6.6 and an average finish of 7.7.
  • Snap Into A Slim Jim… Slim Jim, which will adorn the hood of the No. 88 Toyota Tundra at DIS, is a convenient, one-of-a-kind snack, well-known for its intense flavor and “snap” that people love. The unique combination of great taste, spice and attitude makes Slim Jim the No. 1 brand of meat snack sticks. For more information visit: www.SlimJim.com
Crafton’s Daytona International Speedway Stats:
  • 15 starts since 2001
  • 0 wins
  • One top-five finish
  • 6 top-10 finishes
  • 1407 of 1524 laps completed (92.3%)
  • Two laps led
  • Best start: 2nd (2009)
  • Best finish: 5th (2010)
  • Average start: 18.1
  • Average finish: 15.1
  • Has more starts in the NCWTS at Daytona than any other driver (15)
  • Has completed more laps at Daytona in the NCWTS than any other driver (1407)
  • Tied for the most top-10 finishes at Daytona (5)
  • Most lead lap finishes: 7
Crafton’s 2015 Highlights:
  • Earned a career-best six wins in one season – Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, and Homestead Miami Speedway
  • Earned a career-best four poles in one season – Michigan International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway
  • Led a career-best 771 laps in one season
  • Extended the Truck Series record for consecutive starts to 361, since his season debut at Auto Club Speedway in November 2000
Crafton’s Career Truck Series Stats:
  • 361 starts since 2000
  • 11 wins
  • 89 top-five finishes
  • 210 top-10 finishes
  • 11 poles
  • 56,068 laps completed
  • 1689 laps led
  • Average start: 12.9
  • Average finish: 11.5
Race Information:
Date: Friday, Feb. 19
Time: 7:30pm ET
Track: 2.5-mile superspeedway
Distance: 100 laps/250 miles

 

About Menards:
With 287 stores in 14 Midwestern states, Menards has the tools, materials and supplies for all your home improvement needs whether just needing a light bulb or can of paint to building a deck or new home. Menards is known throughout the home improvement industry as the low price leader; it’s no wonder their famous slogan – “SAVE BIG MONEY” – is so widely known and easy to remember. Menards does things right – the company’s strength and success can be seen in the well-stocked and maintained stores, the lowest prices in town and the way guests are always treated like family in a hometown hardware store atmosphere.
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 Racing, which has competed in the NCWTS since 1996, will run the No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra driven by two-time NCWTS drivers’ champion Matt Crafton, the No. 41 Alpha Energy Solutions Toyota Tundra driven by Ben Rhodes, and the No. 98 Safelite/CURB Records Toyota Tundra driven by Rico Abreu in 2016.