Crafton Wins, Dillon Falters in Iowa

Matt Crafton claims his second career NCWTS win.
Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images

Matt Crafton broke a 79-race winless streak at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night to win the Coca-Cola 200, which was won on pit road in the final stop of the night. Austin Dillon, the dominant driver of the night, finished second after a botched pit stop, followed by pole-sitter David Mayhew in third. Johnny Sauter and rookie Joey Coulter rounded out the top 5.

Crafton was undoubtedly ecstatic after breaking such a long winless streak.

“It’s a huge momentum builder,” said Crafton. “The last four weeks were just, plain and simple, hell. There’s no way around that. I can’t thank these guys enough for not giving up. I’ve made mistakes. We blew up. Anything that could go wrong went wrong the last four weeks and to come back the fifth week and do it like we did today and earned it on pit road out on the racetrack and them guys busting their butts, it was awesome.”

Crafton won by .337 seconds over Dillon.

Dillon, who led the most laps at 127, was obviously disappointed after losing the race. On the final pitstop of the day, Dillon lost the race off of pit road. However, in the closing laps, Dillon worked his way to Crafton’s bumper and even raced side-by-side for several laps, but lapped traffic and dirty air got in the way of Dillon’s first victory since September of last season.

“We were the fastest all night,” said a dejected Dillon. “I’m not going to be stuck-up about it. They had a good car and made the right call at the end. . . .I gave it all I had.”

The finish was Dillon’s best finish through 11 races in 2011.

Meanwhile, pole-sitter Mayhew surprised everyone with a rather strong performance in only his third Camping World Truck Series start all season, leading 21 laps and finishing the in the third position, matching his previous best finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Mayhew next expects to race at Bristol Motor Speedway in August.

Yellow flags slowed the race 6 times for 32 laps, including a red flag period that lasted 14 minutes and 39 seconds. The red flag was for Justin Marks, who slid from the entrance to turn one after contact from Max Papis. Marks slid all the way down to the infield and made heavy contact with the outside pit wall, actually bending the pit wall to the point it needed fixing before the race could resume. As Marks got out of the truck, he appeared to be holding either his chest or his stomach, and had to sit down on the ground to catch his breath. Marks was later transported from the infield care center to a local hospital, but was reportedly still awake and alert.

Iowa Speedway estimated the attendance to be 24,408 people, and those fans were treated to a total of six lead changes and a race that lasted just under 2 hours (1 hour, 46 minutes, 8 seconds).

Sauter maintained the points lead with the 4th-place run, and holds a 22 point advantage over Dillon, who moved up a spot with his runner-up finish. Cole Whitt fell a position to third, and is 26 points out of the lead. He is the highest rookie in the standings. James Buescher is 4th. Crafton gained three spots in the standings with the victory to fifth.

The next race will be Friday, July 22nd at Nashville Superspeedway for the Lucas Deep Clean 200. Coverage will begin at 8pm ET on SPEED.  
Crafton Wins, Dillon Falters in Iowa Crafton Wins, Dillon Falters in Iowa Reviewed by Summer Dreyer on Saturday, July 16, 2011 Rating: 5