Matt Crafton takes Charlotte Truck win for second straight victory

Getty Images
0 Comments

While others gambled on fuel, Matt Crafton stuck to the plan and won the North Carolina Education Lottery 200.

The two-time Camping World Truck Series champion assumed the lead for the final time at Charlotte Motor Speedway with four laps remaining and claimed his second win in two weeks.

Green-flag pit stops began with about 15 laps remaining. Daniel Suarez and Johnny Sauter attempted to save gas, but Suarez had to pit with five laps left. Crafton then overtook Sauter a lap later and never looked back. Crafton led 47 laps after starting 17th and suffering a few bad pit stops, including sliding through his box on the first stop.

“The crazy part about it is we didn’t make a whole lot of changes (during the race), they made all the changes last night,” Crafton told Fox Sports 1. “Two nights ago, me and (Crew chief Carl) Joiner went to dinner and we sat till 11 o’clock and thought of a ton of things to change … I think he changed 15 or 20 things.”

Crafton started 17th based off practice speeds when Friday’s qualifying session was rained out.

“I knew we were off at Dover in practice, but this was the worst we’ve been in a long time during practice,” Crafton said. “They wholesaled this (truck) and from Lap 1 on, it was game time.”

A 13-time winner in the series, it is the first time Crafton has won consecutive races. It’s Crafton’s first victory at Charlotte since he earned his first win in the series in 2008. Saturday also marked the first time Kyle Busch has ever finish second to Crafton.

“If anybody can beat Kyle Busch in one of these Truck races, you know you’re doing something (right),” Crafton said.

Crafton was followed by Busch, Johnny Sauter, Tyler Reddick and Matt Tifft.

HOW MATT CRAFTON WON: Crafton overtook a slow Johnny Sauter with four laps left and was unchallenged the rest of the way.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Kyle Busch led 27 laps and finished second after a penalty on pit road for an uncontrolled tired … While he didn’t win, Johnny Sauter successfully gambled on fuel and finished the race in third for his top five of the season … After leading six laps, Daniel Suarez had to pit for fuel with five laps left and ended the day in 23rd, two laps down.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Andy Seuss brought out the first caution on Lap 23 after spinning while exiting Turn 2. Suess almost saved his No. 1 truck before losing control again and hitting the inside wall nose-first. Seuss was unharmed … Christopher Bell spun exiting Turn 4 on Lap 73, a few laps after being penalized for his pit crew going over the wall too soon. Bell would finish eighth … Rico Abreu pit with 13 to go after running in the top 10. He was penalized for pitting outside his box. The rookie finished 20th, one lap down.

NOTABLE: Johnny Sauter’s third-place finish is his best result in eight starts at Charlotte … Matt Tifft was the highest placing rookie in fifth, which is the best result of his career … Matt Crafton is the first repeat winner of 2016.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Definitely not how you want to finish third, but we’ve been on the flip side of some bad luck this year, so it’s good to have something go our way a little bit.” – Johnny Sauter after making it to the race’s end low on fuel.

WHAT’S NEXT: Rattlesnake 400 at Texas Motor Speedway, on June 10 at 9 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.