Even though it came down to a fuel mileage race, the dominate truck won the WinStar World Casino and Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway. Crafton led 118 of the races 167 laps and won his fifth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. It’s Crafton’s second victory of the 2014 season.
Crafton had the dominate truck all night but did have some pressure from both Ryan Blaney and Ron Hornaday Jr, however, fuel strategy put both drivers back end of the top ten at the finish.
Finishing in the second position was pole sitter Justin Lofton with veteran Joe Nemechek coming home third. Ryan Blaney finished in the fourth spot with John Wes Townley coming home fifth. Ron Hornaday Jr finished in the sixth spot with Johnny Sauter coming home seventh. Finishing in the eighth position was Bryan Silas with Joey Coulter coming home ninth and Darrell Wallace Jr finished in the tenth position.
The race started with Justin Lofton leading the field to green with Matt Crafton alongside. Lofton chose the outside lane giving Crafton the inside lane and Crafton got off to a great start and took the lead as the field came to cross the line for the first time. By lap nine Crafton’s lead was 2.02 seconds over second place driver Ryan Blaney.
Meanwhile, on lap seven points leader Timothy Peters had a flat tire and was forced to pit under green. Peters ran over debris which led to a cut tire and the team pitted to fix the issue but the team was two laps down after the stop.
Crafton was leading when the races’ first caution flag flew on lap 34 when Tyler Reddick and Norm Benning made contact sending Benning into a spin. Benning would continue without any damage.
The leaders would pit and Ron Hornaday Jr’s team got him off of pit road first and he led the field to green for the lap 40 restart. Ryan Blaney got the lead from Hornaday on the restart and Blaney pulled away from the field temporarily.
On lap 45 the races’ second caution flag flew when Tyler Reddick, Mason Mingus and Joe Nemechek crashed on the backstretch. All the drivers would eventually continue with Reddick and Mingus several laps down. Reddick finished 21st, Mingus finished 19th.
The race would continue on lap 50 as Matt Crafton once again showed his muscle taking the lead on the restart. On lap 54 the races’ third caution flag would fly when German Quiroga lost an engine coming into turn two. Quiroga’s blown engine left oil on the track in which his teammate Timothy Peters slid in, sending Peters sliding hard into the outside wall. Both drivers were done for the night. Quiroga finished 23rdwhile Peters finished 24th.
The leaders would pit with Ryan Blaney’s team getting him off pit road first after taking two tires. Meanwhile the dominate truck of the night, Matt Crafton elected to go four tires on the restart pinning his truck back in the seventh spot on the restart.
Blaney led the field to green on the lap 65 restart. He would lead by 1.2 seconds on lap 69, meanwhile Matt Crafton was taking advantage of his four fresh tires and by lap 72 was in the second position as he passed Ron Hornaday Jr.
Blaney’s lead would shrink as Crafton closed in. On lap 95 Crafton had passed Blaney for the lead. Crafton was leading when the races’ fourth caution flew on lap 105 for debris.
The leaders would pit and Matt Crafton’s team got him out first with Ryan Blaney alongside for the lap 110 restart. On the restart Ron Hornaday Jr slipped by to get the lead but a lap later Matt Crafton passed him back for the lead and he would pull away from the field.
By lap 124 Crafton’s lead over Ron Hornaday Jr was 2.6 seconds and would continue to stretch his lead.
By lap 136 Crafton’s lead had grown to over four seconds over Hornaday Jr.
Meanwhile the crew chiefs were trying to figure out fuel mileage as several teams would need to pit prior to the checkered flag falling on the race. Erik Jones would start the pit stops followed by Hornaday, Blaney, Jeb Burton and Taylor Malsam.
There was some talk about Matt Crafton and whether he could make it on fuel. Crafton did a great job of conserving fuel and after both Hornaday and Blaney pitted had a 13 second lead over the field. Crafton would really back it down, cutting about two seconds off his lap times. Other drivers that made the fuel run were Justin Lofton, Joe Nemechek, John Wes Townley, Joey Coulter, and Bryan Silas. Coulter would run out on the final lap and drop from fourth to ninth which was still a higher finish if he would have pitted.
Crafton would make it and win the WinStar World Casino and Resort 400.
Other notables in the field included Erik Jones in 11th, Jeb Burton in 12th, Taylor Malsam in 13th, and Ben Kennedy in 14th.
Matt Crafton took the points lead the after the WinStar World Casino and Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway as he leads teammate Johnny Sauter by 11 points. Third in the standings is Ron Hornaday Jr who is 23 points back with Ryan Blaney fourth in the standings 25 points back. Timothy Peters is fifth in the standings 27 points back. German Quiroga is sixth with Ben Kennedy in seventh and John Wes Townley in eighth. Jeb Burton is ninth in the standings and Joey Coulter is tenth in the points.Matt Crafton, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Ron Hornaday Jr., Ryan Blaney, Texas Motor Speedway, WinStar World Casino and Resort 400