Trackin’ Trucks: Matt Crafton Wins at Kansas

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

Matt Crafton earned his first victory of the season on Saturday at Kansas Speedway, holding off Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Christian Eckes and ThorSport Racing teammate Grant Enfinger. The defending series champion broke a 67-race winless streak, with his last win having come at Eldora in 2017. He led the final 22 laps of the E.P.T. 200 after passing Austin Hill on Lap 113. 

“It was very, very sweet,” Crafton said of the victory, “Not a lot of give-up in these guys (the No. 88 ThorSport Racing team), without a doubt. Our Ford F-150 was good, really good all day.

“It was good on that last run, as well. The 18 (Eckes) had a little bit of speed — he was making me nervous right there. I kept trying to take his line away and make him tight and loose. … At the end of the day, I can’t thank these guys enough for working so hard each and every week on this thing.”

The win is Crafton’s third at the 1.5-mile track and 15th of his career. 

Eckes earned his third top-five finish with second, rebounding from his 13th place finish in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series first installment of their first doubleheader weekend. 

“What a comeback for our team,” said Eckes, “We sucked yesterday. You can’t sugar-coat it — we were terrible. (Crew chief) Rudy (Fugle) and the guys worked really, really hard last night and this morning to get it better.

“We still started the race a little bit off, but the track kind of came to us. It was perfect at the end. I just got a little tight behind him (Crafton).”
Enfinger finished third, while Tanner Gray and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top five. 

Austin Hill finished sixth, Derek Kraus, Brandon Jones, Zane Smith, and Chase Purdy finished seventh through 10th, respectively. 

The weekend got worse for Tyler Ankrum as he was involved in a Lap 94 wreck with teammates Brett Moffitt and Smith. 

Ankrum slid up the track and caught the nose of the No. 21 before collecting Moffitt. Zane finished ninth, but Moffitt and Ankrum finished 27th and 28th, respectively. 

A Look Ahead 

The Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series have a week off before heading to Michigan International Speedway. 

Ankrum, as well as Johnny Sauter and Stewart Friesen are in must-win situations with three races to go. The playoff field has expanded for the 2020 season, but the three drivers are all below the cutoff line to advance for the series championship. 

Ankrum is the closest in 11th, 22 points behind Todd Gilliland, while Sauter is 43 points behind after getting involved in a multi-truck accident on Lap 84 with Jennifer Jo Cobb, Spencer Davis, Travis Pastrana, Ty Majeski, among others. 

Friesen is 14th in the standings, 71 points away from Gilliland. 

Catch the next race on August 7th at 6 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. 

Trackin’ Trucks: Matt Crafton Wins at Kansas  Trackin’ Trucks: Matt Crafton Wins at Kansas Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Saturday, July 25, 2020 Rating: 5