John Hunter Nemechek hits Matt Crafton on the driver-side door, while racing hard on a late-race restart in Turn 2, sending Crafton into the outside wall.
Matt Crafton and Tyler Reddick react to some hard racing at the end of the American Ethanol 200 as both were battling for third place.
More heartache for Erik Jones, who started on pole RELATED: Full race results " Updated Truck Series standings FORT WORTH, Texas _ Matt Crafton continued his recent domination of NASCAR’s intermediate racetracks Friday night, hammering out a victory over an aggressive Daniel Suarez in the 19th annual WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway . Crafton , the two-time/reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, survived a pair of late-race cautions and restarts against Suarez - including the final with two laps to go - to record his eighth career victory by 0.569-seconds. "The restarts were hairy," Crafton said in Victory Lane. "We got a pretty good start on that last one and ran side-by-side-by-side. We're happy for sure, but not satisfied." Erik Jones started on the pole Friday night after turning a qualifying lap at 181.074 mph in qualifying earlier in the day. Crafton started second and was seriously challenged only by No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota driver Suarez , who finished second in a two-lap shootout after trading paint with the No. 88 in the late laps. It was Crafton's third win of the season. The two-time defending series champion extended his lead in the points standings to 25 over Tyler Reddick . John Wes Townley in the No. 05 Chevrolet , Johnny Sauter 's No. 98 Toyota and Austin Theriault in the No. 29 Ford rounded out the top five. Reddick was fastest in the first round of qualifying but wound up starting 16 th in Friday’s Truck Series race. His No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford looked to have speed to challenge Crafton , but Reddick was forced to serve two pit road penalties then stalled on pit road late in the race. Jones, who has finished second or third four times in six races, had heartbreak again as the pit crew had trouble locating a spare battery when he pitted with a voltage problem. He was a lap down when repairs were complete. Before the mechanical trouble, Jones had led 68 of the first 86 laps in the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. Ten laps after the swap, Jones reported the new battery hadn't resolved the problem. He had to pit for a third battery on Lap 139 and went two laps down, finishing 15th. Crafton won last year's event here on fuel mileage, a strategy he and crew chief Carl "Junior" Joiner mapped-out en route to victory on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway last month. Crafton also prevailed on the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway , a sister facility to TMS. Crafton led a career-best 118 laps en route to victory here last June, snapping a 26-race TMS winless streak. Crafton and Joiner stretched their fuel mileage over the final 61 laps and cruised to a 13.302-second margin of victory over Justin Lofton . That comfortable MOV erased the series' previous TMS record of 11.817-seconds set by Dennis Setzer in 2004. The victory was the fifth of Crafton's career and second of 2014, marking the first time he had scored multiple wins in a season. Friday night's start was Crafton's 29th at TMS - more than any active series driver entered in the 167-lap/250.5-mile event. For Crafton , that familiarity has bred respect. "You don't have to reacquaint yourself with the racetrack, but this track has changed quite a bit over the years," said Crafton , driver of the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota Tundra fielded by ThorSport Racing. "Last year in this June race, it was really, really different than what I'd seen in the past. Usually when you're here, you can run quite a few laps wide-open and I bet there wasn't a total of five laps the whole weekend wide-open. It's a lot slipperier and the racetrack is getting a lot more age on it. It's definitely changing and I think it's changing for the better." With his earlier victories this season at AMS and Kansas Speedway , Crafton definitely is the measuring stick on 1.5-mile layouts. He entered the night with an 11-point lead (257-246) over Tyler Reddick of Brad Keselowski Racing, last week's winner at Dover International Speedway , and a 14-point lead over Erik Jones , Friday night's pole-sitter and driver of the No. 4 Special Olympics World Games Toyota fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Jones, Reddick chasing two-time defending champ in standings Five races into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, the cream is still on top. Matt Crafton ’s third-place finish last Friday in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway allowed the series points leader to maintain his top spot. Crafton , driving the No. 88 for ThorSport Racing, now has 217 points on the strength of two wins, four top fives and a series-best five top-10 finishes. The 38-year-old Crafton is trying to three-peat as the Camping World Truck Series points champion. Crafton has 343 Trucks races under his fire suit, starting with the Motorola 200 at Fontana back in 2000. His first-ever win was the 2008 edition of the North Carolina Education Lottery. He has a modest seven career wins, but consistency works in his favor. He’s placed among the top 10 in his Trucks races 57.4 percent of the time (197 out of 343). Erik Jones ’ epic battle with Kasey Kahne , which included side-by-side racing for most of the final lap and a photo finish, is the type of excitement NASCAR officials — and fans — want to see. Kahne won the race by 0.005 (that’s not a typo) of a second. The No. 00 Truck failed the post-race inspection for a ride-height violation. Kahne does, however, get to keep the win. Driving the No. 4 for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Jones led 88 of the 139 laps at Charlotte. Jones, who turns 19 on May 30, ranks second in the points standings. He finished 18th last year. Just two points behind Jones in the standings sits Tyler Reddick , who picked up his fourth top-five finish of the year by placing fourth last week. Driving the No. 19 Truck for Brad Keselowski Racing, Reddick already has one more top-five finish than he had in 16 starts as a rookie in 2014. The 19-year-old placed 12th in the standings last year. More than a decade removed from his rookie season in a NASCAR national series, Johnny Sauter is chasing his first-ever Truck Series title. Sauter, who turned 37 earlier this month, ranks fourth in the current standings. His best season was a second-place finish in 2011, and he placed fourth in the standings the past two years. John Wes Townley moved into the top five with a sixth-place finish at Charlotte. Townley doesn’t have a win in his 74 career starts on the circuit. He was 15th in the final 2014 standings, and his best year was an 11th-place showing in 2013. Up next for the Camping World Truck Series is the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 29 (5:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Spencer Gallagher, Johnny Sauter topped the opening session Practice 2: Full results Bringing his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Truck onto the track for the first time today, Matt Crafton wasted no time finding speed, his 178.566 mph lap around Texas Motor Speedway sending him to the top of the leaderboard during Thursday's final practice for the WinStar World Casino 400 (Friday, 9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). With conditions closer to that of Friday's race, BK Racing 's Tyler Reddick showed even more speed in this practice, wheeling his No. 19 machine at 178.566 mph around the 1.5-mile oval. Kyle Busch Motorsports' Daniel Suarez found his groove during the night's final session, rounding the Lone Star State track at 177.971 mph for the third spot on the leaderboard. Second-fastest in opening practice, ThorSport Racing's Johnny Sauter was fourth (177.049 mph) in the final session, followed by Kyle Busch Motorsports' Erik Jones (176.852 mph). After leading the opening practice, GMS Racing's Spencer Gallagher dropped to eighth on the leaderboard in the final session, recording a high speed of 176.523 mph. The Camping World Truck Series is back on track at Texas for Keystone Light Qualifying at 6:15 p.m. ET with coverage on FOX Sports 1. Practice 1: Full opening practice results Propelling his No. 23 GMS Racing ride at 178.406 mpgh, Spencer Gallagher soared to the top of the leaderboard Thursday during opening Camping World Truck Series practice at Texas Motor Speedway . Next up was ThorSport Racing veteran Johnny Sauter , who posted a high speed of 177.456 mph in his No. 98 Toyota Tundra. BK Racing 's Tyler Reddick -- who won the series' event at Dover last weekend -- was third with a high speed of 177.387 mph, while Kyle Busch Motorsports' Erik Jones (177.340 mph) and ThorSport Racing's Cameron Hayley (177.288 mph) rounded out the top five. Reigning series champion Matt Crafton did not make a run during the opening session. Only 24 of the 30 trucks listed on the entry list made a run during opening practice. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Matt Crafton breaks down how he earned the win in the WinStar Casino and Resort 400 in Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway.
Matt Crafton battles Daniel Suarez on a late race restart to get the win in the WinStar World Casino and Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Erik Jones and Matt Crafton talk about the frustrations of coming up just short in Dover in the Lucas Oil 200. Meanwhile, Daniel Hemric talks about his strong run at the Monster Mile.
Can veteran make it three straight NCWTS championships in a row? RELATED: Full schedule of driver previews Team: ThorSport Racing No. 88 Toyota Rank in final 2014 standings: First Wins: Two ( Martinsville Speedway in March and Texas Motor Speedway in June) Strides: Matt Crafton found paydirt early in the season, crossing off a career goal with his first-ever victory in 25 tries at Martinsville Speedway . Four races later, he scored a dominant triumph at Texas Motor Speedway , covering the field in both horsepower and fuel economy for win No. 5 in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career. Though his 2014 season lacked the stellar start from the previous year, when he opened with top-10s in the first 16 races, Crafton was more frequently found in the top five, where he finished a career-best 13 times. Moreover, his closing kick -- eight top-fives in the last 11 races -- helped him re-take the points lead in September and hold it down the stretch. Though he kept mum about his title hopes over the season's latter stages, Crafton was finally able to let loose after a ninth-place finish in the Homestead-Miami Speedway finale clinched his second straight championship, the first repeat in series history. "I think I'm the luckiest man on earth without a doubt," Crafton said. "I get paid to do what I love to do. I mean, there's not a whole lot of people that can say that. Every day I wake up, I feel very blessed." Setbacks: Though Crafton's No. 88 ThorSport entry, helmed by crew chief Carl Joiner Jr., was among the most bulletproof trucks in the garage for most of the season, the path to the championship came with some bumps. His Texas victory was bookended by the season's only two DNFs, a pair of crashes that sidelined him in May at Dover and in June at Gateway. Crafton also placed outside the top-10 in both restrictor-plate races (Daytona, Talladega). But Crafton seemed just as irked -- if not more -- at the races that came oh-so-close to landing him in Victory Lane. With five runner-up finishes and four more third-place efforts over the course of the year, some sore feelings lingered about what could have been. "I made a promise to Junior that -- this last winter that we were going to go out and lead more laps and win more races. And like I said, we led a ton more laps and we won two races and definitely had the capability to win more if we didn't have the bad luck that we had there in the middle part of the season. It's a damn shame because I feel like we should have at least won five races without a doubt." Quoteworthy: "There's been spots and points of brilliance and we're going to get to the top of this hill, and I knew we would eventually, but there was definitely a lot of times there was a lot of aggravation and stuff that we had to go through to get here, to get the perseverance to get here. That makes it that much sweeter." What's next: Why mess with success? Crafton will be back with ThorSport, working again with Joiner atop the pit box and with the familiar day-glo yellow colors of sponsor Menard's on the No. 88. The pressure now rests on Crafton's chances of securing a three-peat in one of NASCAR's most competitive and balanced series. Only two drivers in NASCAR's top division have ever accomplished such a streak -- Cale Yarborough, who is already in the NASCAR Hall of Fame; and Jimmie Johnson , a first-ballot lock for enshrinement. "I feel very good about going into 2015 and maybe making it three in a row," Crafton said after hoisting the championship trophy at Homestead. "That would be -- there's no doubt that we can. I've said it's all about these guys that build these trucks up in Sandusky, Ohio, and having the owners that give us all the tools, Duke and Rhonda Thorson." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Sprint Cup star fractured right leg in NASCAR XFINITY Series race Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Matt Crafton will be filling in for Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota for Sunday's Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX), Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Saturday night. Busch suffered a compound fracture of his right lower leg from a hard hit late in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Alert Today Florida 300 on Saturday, according to a team release. He is undergoing surgery on his right leg on Saturday night. In addition, Busch suffered a mid-foot fracture of his left foot in the accident. Busch's injury will sideline him for an undetermined amount of time and no interim driver has been named for any future races, according to the team. Busch began to climb from his car without assistance, but was placed on a stretcher by emergency personnel shortly after exiting the car. He was transported to nearby Halifax Medical Center moments later. A 29-time winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Busch does not have a Daytona 500 victory to his name. In the loop data era at Daytona, Busch has the best average running position (12.8), driver rating (96.2) and most laps in the top 15 (2488), which comes out to 70.1 percent of the laps in the past 20 races. Filling in for Busch will be Crafton , the 38-year-old two-time defending champion in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Crafton has not started a Sprint Cup Series race in his career although he did qualify Robby Gordon's Cup ride in 2008 at Dover while Gordon competed in the Baja 1000. He failed in his attempt to qualify for the Brickyard 400 last summer at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch was slated to start fourth, but due to the driver change, Crafton will have to start at the back of the field. In 339 career starts in the Truck Series, Crafton has five wins, though none of those has come at Daytona. With his brother Kurt Busch suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on Friday, Sunday's race will be the first Great American Race since 2000 without one of the Busch brothers in the field. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule