In Part 3 of the Championship Analysis series ahead of the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami, Speedway Media takes an in-depth look at the Truck Series veteran Matt Crafton. Crafton is competing in his third Championship 4 finale and seeks his third Truck Series title in a career that has spanned over 20 years.
It’s been a strange season, to say the least, for Matt Crafton and the No. 88 ThorSport Racing team. The ThorSport driver will be chasing his third title for the third time in the Truck Series Playoffs. When looking at the stats for this season, Crafton has only earned six top fives and 17 top-10 finishes with only 35 laps led. He’s come close a couple of times to winning but has never been able to pull it off.
How He Got Here: Luck. It’s been all luck this past season for the California native, who is chasing his third career Truck Series championship. If it wasn’t for three stage wins, I’m not really sure if we would be talking about Crafton right now. Sure, he’s been consistently finishing in the top-10 but the 2019 season hasn’t been a stellar year for him. Crafton has shined a couple of times, though, finishing second at Fort Worth in June plus earning three poles, at Kansas, Charlotte and Talladega. However, disarray arose when the Playoffs started at Las Vegas in September. Engine issues plagued Crafton to a 30th place finish. Even then, he was facing possible elimination, but somehow made it through to live on another day. Then came Martinsville, where once again electrical issues resulted in a 23rd place finish for Crafton. However, with a sixth-place finish and enough points, the California native will be competing in his third Championship 4 race Friday night.
Championship Chances: If Crafton can avoid having electrical issues as he has faced in the Playoffs, then he most certainly has a shot like the other three contenders. The ThorSport driver knows how to get it done in situations like these. It wasn’t all that long ago that Crafton took a beat-up truck and won the championship before the playoff system was set in stone. However, I am concerned with the team not yet winning this season which may provide a challenge for Crafton. However, knowing the crafty veteran, he has seen the ins and outs of what it takes to win the title. Being hungry for that first win in two years, he may just pull a rabbit out of the hat and notch his third Truck Series championship.
Final Analysis: If Crafton can get another championship, it would just be another list of accomplishments added to his Hall of Fame career. At 43-years-old, he has a couple more years left in hopes to get a few more championships to his name in a career that has spanned over 20 years dating back to 2000. However, it has been noted, Crafton hopes to be like Ron Hornaday and keep contending for wins before it’s time to call it a career.