With a Daniel Suarez behind him and hungry for his first-career win, Matt Crafton stayed perfect in the final 78 laps of the JACOB Companies 200 to win his first Camping World Truck Series race of 2016.
Crafton, a two-time series champion, hadn’t won at Dover International Speedway in his first 15 starts at the 1-mile track. Now Crafton is eligible for the Truck series’ Chase playoff.
“I always wanted Miles (Dover’s trophy),” Crafton told Fox Sports 1. “We’ve came close and ran second (in 2013). This Menards Toyota Tundra was fast today. It’s all about these guys behind me, I can’t say enough about them – they never give up because we were not very good in the last practice.”
Crafton started fifth after Friday’s qualifying session was rained out.
“Last night (crew chief) Junior (Joiner) sat down and they worked on it all day and made a little headway and finally made progress,” said Crafton, who took the lead on Lap 123. His closest challenger was Suarez, who wasn’t able to get close enough to Crafton’s rear-bumper during the last 27 lap green-flag run.
“I was trying to run the wheels off this thing to try and complete the pass,” Suarez told Fox Sports 1. “We were a little faster than (Crafton) but clean air is a big difference here.”
Suarez’ runner-up result was his best finish in four Truck starts this season. He had failed to finish in the top 15 in his first three races.
HOW MATT CRAFTON WON: After taking the lead on Lap 123, Crafton held off all challengers through two restarts to lead the final 78 laps.
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Daniel Suarez was in the top five all afternoon, but couldn’t catch Crafton in the final stretch, finishing second for the fourth time in his Truck career … A week after crashing on the last lap at Kansas, Johnny Sauter kept his truck out of trouble, finishing fourth for his second top five of the year … Cole Custer bounced back from a penalty for jumping a restart to finish fifth, his best finish of the year.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Pole-sitter William Byron led the first 80 laps, but lost the lead during pit stops. The rookie pit under caution with 30 to go and was penalized for his crew going over the wall too soon before finishing 11th … ThorSport teammates Ben Rhodes and Rico Abreu were in the top 10 on a Lap 61 restart when Rhodes got loose in Turn 3 and made contact with Abreu, sending them both into the wall. It was the second accident in as many races for both drivers… With 69 laps left and right after making a green-flag stop, John Wes Townley got loose in Turn 3, overcorrected and hit the outside wall in Turn 4. Townley finished 29th.
NOTABLE: All five races this season have been won by a different driver, four of them by series regulars.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’ve been telling Junior (Joiner) all year, to get out of the box and he said we have to win a race first. Now we can get out of the box.” – Matt Crafton after his first win of 2016.
NEXT: N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway; May 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.