The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is preparing for a night race at Texas Motor Speedway with the 18th annual WinStar World Casino & Resort 400.
Matt Crafton, of ThorSport Racing, will be piloting his No. 88 Slim Jim / Menards Toyota during the race in an effort to put his name back on top of the points. He also hopes to shake off a rare DNF and rough finish at Dover International also known as the Monster Mile.
The DNF came with Crafton’s powerful crash into the wall with about 50 laps to go while racing Kyle Busch. The violent wreck was due to an apparent wheel failure. The disappointed driver talked to reporters shortly after a visit to the infield care center.
"It knocked the wind out of you more than anything and they're asking you if you're alright and you can't breathe because it knocks the wind out of you," Crafton said. "But I'm all good."
Crafton hopes to avoid any issues during the Texas trip that might cause further damage to his standing in the points. As the defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion he is currently in the running to possibly win a second consecutive championship.
"Winning there (Texas) would be a really good deal,” Crafton said. “So hopefully we can keep our momentum that we've had the last four weeks, going and just go with that and let the chips fall where they will."
Crafton has run well at Texas Motor Speedway and it’s the perfect track for the driver to race on following a disappointing run. He has five consecutive top-10 finishes at Lone-Star state speedway. In addition the speedway surface is aging which could cause some wear issues and handling problems for many teams. This may play well in the hands of a veteran driver like Crafton behind the wheel while side-tracking less experienced drivers.
And, on the fun side; at Texas the winner of the race gets to celebrate in Victory Lane with a couple of symbols of the old west. A pair of Six-Shooters are part of the Texas Motor Speedway victory celebration.
"Winning at Texas would be cool -- very cool," Crafton said. "It's always been one of those racetracks everyone wants to win at. You want to be able to shoot the guns (in Victory Lane) and to be able to say you've won at Texas.”
Crafton entered the race last week with an 11-point lead in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers' championship. He left the Monster Mile in a tie for second place with his ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter.
"Defending a championship in anything is never easy, but the performance of the team so far this season with our 2014 Menards Tundra has been very, very good," Crafton said. "We've had bad finishes at Daytona (13th) and Dover, but that doesn't mean that we weren't running good in both of them. We led laps (46 of them) at Dover and we've been in contention to win in pretty much every race we've been at. So it can't get much better -- except for finishing second behind Kyle Busch a couple times."