RELATED: Race results " Series standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Neither the reigning two-time champion nor the plucky driver in his first full season took a spot on the big stage Friday night. But for Matt Crafton and Tyler Reddick , there was plenty of solace to go around. Crafton and Reddick made the most of banner seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series despite coming up short to newly crowned champion Erik Jones in Friday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Crafton netted the biggest consolation prize of all, a resounding victory in the Ford EcoBoost 200 . Reddick, though stinging from a runner-up finish in the standings, found silver linings in the impact of a successful two-win season. For Crafton and his ThorSport Racing No. 88 Toyota team, the championship torch was passed to a rookie driver 20 years his junior. But the Truck Series veteran savored his most prolific season in the win column with six victories, capped by Friday night's romp at the 1.5-mile Homestead track, where he led 93 of 134 laps from the Keystone Light Pole position. Crafton wound up third in the final series standings, 22 points behind Jones, but relished a year flush with dominance and laps led, doubling the amount of victories in both championship seasons combined. "This year, I said these guys are unbelievable what they build these trucks up there in Sandusky, Ohio and what (team owners) Duke and Rhonda (Thorson) give us to be able to go out and win six races," said Crafton , who led the standings from late March through late July. "I say it each and every race, I don't worry about the points, and I haven't worried about the points. The last five races, six races, I knew I was going to have to be that much more aggressive, and I was." Reddick kicked off his first full season in the Brad Keselowski Racing No. 19 Ford with a victory in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway . He added a win three months later at Dover, but lamented a handful of subpar finishes (19th at Mosport, 15th at New Hampshire) in the season's second half that left him at a deficit in the series' pecking order. Reddick still ended up second in the standings, 15 points off the top and exceedingly close to the lofty goals he set for himself back in the winter. "Going into this year, our standards were set very high," Reddick said. "We wanted to win the championship and obviously a lot of people -- I feel like a lot of people didn't think we were capable of that. We didn't end up being capable of it. As you see, we were runner-up. We were always very strong throughout the season. We were always right there. Unfortunately we were just a little too short there coming into Homestead to really mix it up in the last race."
RELATED: Race results " Series standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- As strong as he was in winning Friday night's Ford EcoBoost 200 , Matt Crafton was already looking ahead to 2016. Crafton , whose hopes for a third consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship were dashed by a crash at Phoenix last week, won his sixth race of the season, holding off John Hunter Nemechek and Tyler Reddick in the season finale. Although Crafton's No. 88 Toyota Tundra finished 2.9 seconds ahead of Nemechek and more than six seconds ahead of Reddick, the 39-year-old veteran still wound up third in the point standings, 15 behind 19-year-old Erik Jones . "I was having so much fun there at the end of this race," said Crafton after his first career victory at HMS. "Six wins with as many laps as we’ve led -- it's been awesome this season. We just made too many mistakes. I made too many mistakes. … I promise one thing: It's going to make us stronger in 2016." Crafton said he was happy to be able to "take the gloves off" and go all out for a win at HMS. "That was lot of fun," he said. "It's amazing what Junior (crew chief Joiner) can do with these trucks. On that last run, we hit a home run there." Ultimately, Kyle Busch 's eye for youthful talent paid off as Jones did what he needed to in becoming the youngest driver ever to claim a NCWTS title (19 years, 5 months, 21 days) and first NASCAR Next alum. He also became the first to win a driver's title for Kyle Busch Motorsports. "He put it to me when he beat me in a Super Late Model race," recalled Busch, who will race for the Sprint Cup title on Sunday. "I tend to pick up on the talent of younger kids. Actually, the first time he raced against me, he blew my doors off, then blew up 40 laps later. I said, 'Good. I don’t have to race (against) this one.' " There was no blowing up Friday night. Jones entered the race 19 points ahead of Reddick, his nearest competitor, and 32 points ahead of Crafton , the Keystone Light Pole-sitter. Making his first HMS start, Jones needed only to avoid trouble and finish 15th or higher to claim the series crown. Jones, who notched three wins this season and has seven career NCWTS victories, finished sixth in the race behind Ben Kennedy and Timothy Peters . He qualified fifth and was content to race safely and efficiently, remaining in the top 10 for most of the race and avoiding any calamity on the track. "I can't think of a better way to repay these guys. I can't think of a better ending than that," said Jones, who expects to drive full-time in the XFINITY Series for Joe Gibbs Racing next year after parts of three seasons with Kyle Busch Motorsports. "Eric's done a lot of growing up in a short period of time," Busch said. "I'm glad he stuck with me and our plan. I think he has a lot of bigger and greater things ahead on his plate." NASCAR Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next alum Daniel Suarez appeared to have the strongest truck early in Friday's race, charging from sixth to the lead. But Suarez slid up the track into the truck of Dexter Stacey on Lap 61, falling back to 15th, then found the wall again on Lap 83. That left Crafton in position to dominate the race. He led 93 of the 134 laps, leaving NASCAR Next driver Nemechek (Chevrolet) and Reddick (Ford) in his wake to battle for second. Reddick, driving for Brad Keselowski Racing, started fourth and advanced to second behind Crafton with 40 laps to go. But by then, Jones, who briefly slid back to 14th after a caution flag shuffle, had rallied to seventh, keeping Reddick, also a 19-year-old driver, at bay in the chase for the title. "We were very consistent this year. I'm proud about that," Reddick said. "We just have to move on to next year. I know what second place feels like and I really don't like it too much. If I didn't have enough reasons to win a championship, I've got one more."
RELATED: Race lineup Matt Crafton posted the fastest lap (167.551 mph) in the No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota, earning the two-time champion his 11th Keystone Ligth Pole award of his career -- and fourth of the season. Joining Crafton on the front row will be the No. 8 of John Hunter Nemechek after posting a fastest lap of 167.002 mph. Rounding out the top three was the No. 11 of Ben Kennedy , who propelled his Ford around the 1.5-mile track at 166.919 mph. The No. 11 of Tyler Reddick (166.888 mph) and the No. 54 of Erik Jones (166.857 mph) were fourth and fifth, respectively. Norm Benning , Ross Kenseth , Bobby Pierce and Todd Peck failed to qualify for the Ford EcoBoost 200 (8 p.m. ET, FS1).
Matt Crafton celebrates in Victory Lane after grabbing the win at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the first time in his career in the Ford EcoBoost 200.
Matt Crafton wins the Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway while Erik Jones becomes the youngest champion in NCWTS history.
NASCAR.com's Jonathan Merryman catches up with Matt Crafton after he won his sixth race of the 2015 season to talk about his monster year and how it feels to come up just short in the championship hunt.
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings AVONDALE, Ariz. -- A hard-edged contest for the lead snared two championship contenders, and a pit-stop misstep hindered the third, as Friday the 13th luck haunted the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title race at Phoenix International Raceway . While Timothy Peters scooted away with his second victory of the season, Erik Jones , Tyler Reddick and Matt Crafton all played damage control Friday night in a topsy-turvy Lucas Oil 150 . Once the curtain closed on the next-to-last event of the season, Jones inched closer to his first NASCAR national series crown, Reddick made modest but unfulfilling gains and Crafton's hopes for extending his title reign to three years grew dimmer. After a late-race restart, Jones and Crafton collided with 30 laps to go on the exit of Turn 4. Crafton caught the worst of the melee, collecting ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter at speed on the frontstretch. Jones, the pole-starter, emerged with relatively minor damage on the left-rear fender, rallying from a pit stop to finish ninth. Crafton spent significant time behind the wall for repairs, finishing 20 laps down in 23rd place. Crafton and Jones had raced fiercely earlier in the 150-lapper, and their contact near the end was no different. But the two-time series champ absorbed the blame for the fateful brush. "It was 100 percent my fault," said Crafton , who led three times for 15 laps. "We were close and it was tight racing. When you get somebody side-by-side with you, I just got loose and made a mistake. Things happen, we're all human and we'll go on to Homestead. I hate it for the guys, we had such a good truck. We'll just hold our heads up and go to Homestead." Jones, who can eliminate Crafton from the title picture with a result of 27th or better in the 32-truck field in next Friday's season-ending Ford EcoBoost 200 (8 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Homestead-Miami Speedway , said the contact was simply the byproduct of hard-nosed competition. "There was definitely some hard racing," said Jones, who led five times for 106 laps. "He didn't want us to get the lead obviously and slipped up and made a mistake. It's going to happen, it's racing, it's hard racing and we both had fast trucks. It's just a shame when you lose a shot at the win. ... "At that moment I wasn't thinking about the championship. I was thinking about winning a race and that flashed before my eyes. I was somewhat worried about it, I wasn't too concerned about it, I figured we'd be OK since obviously the 88 ( Crafton ) was involved as well. Still a 19-point lead and that's a solid margin to go into Homestead." Reddick actually gained a spot in the standings with a fifth-place finish, but failed to capitalize more on the misfortunes of Crafton and Jones. The 19-year-old driver said his Brad Keselowski Racing team would investigate possible trouble on his No. 19 Ford's right-front, which led to a balky tire change on his final pit stop. Jones can close out Reddick in the season finale by placing 15th or better, 16th with leading one lap, and 17th with leading the most laps. Though a mathematic chance at taking the title exists, Reddick was despondent in the immediate aftermath of defeat, calling the night "a real shame." "We still needed to win the race and that was all I really cared about doing," Reddick said. "Running fifth is not going to win us a championship."
Matt Crafton takes blame for the wreck off Turn 4 at Phoenix International Raceway and Erik Jones talks about the wreck taking both trucks out of contention for the win.
Matt Crafton and Erik Jones wreck off Turn 4 while battling for the lead at Phoenix International Raceway.
RELATED: Full race results MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Those who were delivering a post-mortem to Matt Crafton 's hopes for a third straight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title after last weekend's race at Talladega learned on Saturday that the lid on the coffin is far from nailed shut. Crafton survived five restarts in the final 50 laps of Saturday's Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway and won the race by .396 seconds over John Hunter Nemechek , who shoved third-place finisher Cameron Hayley out of the way after a restart with two laps left to secure the runner-up position. With his fifth victory of the season, his second at the .526-mile short track and the 10th of his career, Crafton chopped 13 points off the series lead of Erik Jones , who struggled throughout the afternoon and came home 10th. Crafton moved into second place in the standings, 10 points behind Jones with three races left in the season. Fifth-place finisher Tyler Reddick is third in points, 13 behind Jones. Crafton grabbed the lead from Nemechek after a restart on Lap 137 of 200 and held it the rest of the way. Polesitter Cole Custer , who ran fourth, led a race-high 96 laps but wasn't able to regain the top spot after suffering a pit road speeding penalty under caution on Lap 124. For Crafton , though, the race was a dramatic turnaround after a late wreck a week earlier at Talladega dropped him to 24th at the finish, third in the standings and seemingly out of touch with Jones. But the misfortune at NASCAR's longest oval turned on a dime at one of the sport's shortest. "We've had a very trying last two months, but to get back to Victory Lane is awesome," Crafton said. "These guys (his No. 88 ThorSport Toyota team) just never give up. We weren't that great on the short run, but like I said, I never give up on these guys. They keep fine-tuning and fine-tuning. "The second-to-last run, we just got really tight, for whatever reason, but (crew chief) Junior (Joiner) called an audible, made a little change there, and the thing was good. I just had to pace myself and save enough tires for the end of the race." Jones felt his Kyle Busch Motorsports team simply missed the setup for the race. "It was just a fight all day," said Jones, whose handling issues were compounded by a soft brake pedal. "We missed it a little bit as an organization. I think it showed we were off most of the day for the three trucks (including the Toyotas of 16th-place Daniel Suarez and 21st-place Gray Gaulding ). "We'll work on it and get it better." Ross Kenseth, son of 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth , finished 17th in his Truck Series debut. Austin Cindric, son of Team Penske president Tim Cindric, had a strong top-10 run going in his maiden race in the series before running afoul of a three-wide wreck on the backstretch with eight laps left. After the crash, Cindric came home 25th, the last driver on the lead lap. The race featured 12 cautions, four short of the event record.