Thursday, July 20, 2017

Trackin' Trucks: Matt Crafton Snaps Winless Streak at Eldora

Matt Crafton celebrates his win at Eldora.
Credit: Sean Gardner

by Courtney Horn

Matt Crafton soared ahead of Stewart Friesen on a late-race restart that helped him pull into Victory Lane for the first time in 27 races while earning his first Eldora Dirt Derby 150 win at Eldora Speedway.

Crafton secured the Stage 1 win Wednesday night, hung around in the top ten during the second stage, and quietly made his way back to the front with 40 laps to go to battle with Friesen, who had the dominant truck of the night.  

"My first dirt win! A lot of fun," Crafton said, "In the second part of that race we downright just stunk. It was my fault. We over-tightened it a little bit in the first run. It got free and we just went back to the way we started the race.

"I knew I was getting beat down low. Finally, at the end, I said, 'Well, we may have to tear the right side off to get the win.' I started doing it and this truck became a rocket ship."

Friesen led the first 33 laps of the night before Crafton took the lead at the end of Stage 1. The first stage ended under caution after Christopher Bell spun and suffered significant damage after Kaz Grala made contact with the right side of the No. 4 Toyota.

A multi-truck wreck on Lap 42 collected Max Johnston, Korbin Forrister, and ended the day of ThorSport Racing’s Ben Rhodes. Rhodes finished 30th and sits seventh in the NCWTS points standings.

Friesen earned the Stage 2 win over Ty Dillon, but Friesen was forced to pit unexpectedly during the Stage 2 break for a right-front tire that appeared to be going down.

Friesen restarted sixth and regained the lead on Lap 115. He led the most laps of the night, but the veteran Crafton in the No. 88 Menard’s Toyota took advantage of the top lane of the race track and was able to resume the lead for the final time with 17 to go.

Chase Briscoe, Grant Enfinger, and John Hunter Nemechek rounded out the top five, while Bobby Pierce finished sixth.

A Look Ahead
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Pocono Raceway on Saturday, June 29, 2017, at 1 p.m. ET. Only three races remain before the playoffs begin.

Bell looks for his fourth win of the season after finishing ninth at Eldora. A good run at Pocono can help the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver close the seven-point gap in the series regular points standings, where Johnny Sauter holds the lead. 

Ryan Truex sits eighth in points after a 20th place finish, a good run at Pocono can solidify his chances at making the playoffs for the first time.

Don’t miss the truck series on July 29th at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.

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