Friday, May 13, 2016

Matt Crafton wins on his 16th try at Dover International Speedway

Matt Crafton grabs the checkered flag from the NASCAR official, May 13, 2016.
Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs
By Carol D’Agostino

Going into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Dover 200, all the buzz was about last week’s winner William Byron, and of course, the weather. Two hours and six cautions later, Matt Crafton became the big story by earning his first win at the Monster Mile, his first win and fourth top-10 finish in 2016, and his 12th victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Second-place finisher Daniel Suarez made him earn it, though. Suarez was closing in on Crafton in the final laps, challenging Crafton for the win.

“I just wanted to manage just enough and I could gap him just enough and could run it hard enough to push the right front tire off. I was having them read my lap times and tell me where he (Suarez) was and he was making some runs on me. He definitely made me nervous,” Crafton said.  “There were a couple times they said he was seven back and within a lap-and-a-half he was three back and I thought, ‘I better go now.'"

In the end he was able to hold off Suarez and win the coveted Miles the Monster trophy. In pre-race comments he emphasized his desire to finally get a win at this track, which had eluded him for so long, and to get one of NASCAR’s most unique trophies.

“Dover is one of those race tracks I want to win at so bad, if for nothing else the trophy,” he said. “Miles the Monster trophy – you can’t get anything cooler, really. I’ve got some cool trophies in my collection, no doubt, but Miles, he’s cool and I want one really bad."

And now he can add Miles to his trophy case.

The second-place finish earned Suarez his second top 10 in two races at Dover, and his first top-10 finish for the 2016 season. Christopher Bell came in third and was the highest-finishing rookie.

The series goes to Charlotte next week with Crafton leading the driver’s points standings. Timothy Peters is in second, followed by Daniel Hemric and Ryan Truex. Spencer Gallagher rounds out the top five.

Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs


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