Crafton victorious at Texas
Matt Crafton has won for the third time this season, padding his championship lead.
Matt Crafton had some good old fashioned racing luck that made sure he would be able to be victorious at the WinStar 400 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Crafton benefitted from the misfortune of polesitter Erik Jones and held off all challengers despite two late race cautions that brought the field closer.
Jones encounters issues
Jones suffered voltage trouble early in the race and had two batteries changed. Changing the battery the first time seemed to do nothing to help him during the race and a bad alternator was believed to be the problem. Jones ended up finishing 15th, two laps down.
Crafton was able to sail away but two late cautions with less than 20 laps to go made sure that his win wouldn’t be easy.
Sprint to the finish
Timothy Peters blew an engine with about 20 laps to go, bringing out a caution that led to a restart with Crafton on the outside of the first row and eventual second place runner Daniel Suarez on the inside.
Suarez did what he could to remain side-by-side with Crafton but was cleared by Crafton a few laps later.
“We were side-by-side it felt like for ten laps but I know it wasn’t that, and he almost had me cleared a couple of times. I knew if he had me cleared, he might have won the race,” Crafton said.
Behind the two of them, trouble was brewing in the field.
On the first lap after the green flag came out, Daniel Hemric trailed a small amount of smoke from the rear of his truck after he restarted in fourth position. A few laps later, he cleared Johnny Sauter for third coming out of turn four, but by then his left rear tire had hit his fender, causing a puncture and the tire going flat soon after.
Hemric held on, but spun on the apron in turn two, bringing out the yellow with less than ten laps to go.
The last restart was similar to the previous one, as Crafton was able to clear Suarez soon after and never looked back.
“I had a blast racing with Daniel there at the end,” Crafton said.
Behind him, Suarez was able to hold off the field for second while John Wes Townley was able to get around Johnny Sauter for third place and Austin Theriault finished fifth.
The rest of the top ten was led by Joe Nemechek in the last race for Front Row Joe before handing off the reigns of the 8 truck to his son, John Hunter Nemechek. Nemechek was upbeat after his performance.
“It felt pretty good, we were really tight in the first run, better in the second run, then the third stop and we got tires, it really took off. The green flag runs were good for me only because we finally got the truck right, in clean air you could really go, we were making up time but they were just too far ahead,” Nemechek said.
Hemric was racing in his first race at Texas Motor Speedway and was glad about his progress throughout the race.
“Halfway through the race I moved to the top and figured out a groove I could run, thought we were good for second there and then everyone else figured it out, it kind of stalled out, but just really proud of all these guys,” Hemric said.
Crafton was able to extend his points lead unofficially from 11 points to 25 as the series now heads to Gateway Motorsports Park.
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