Sandusky, Ohio – April 20, 2011 – Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Menards/Ideal Door Chevrolet Silverado for ThorSport Racing, sums up Nashville in two words. Fired up. The veteran driver, on a quest for the championship in 2011, looks in the rearview at an 11th place finish in Martinsville and knows it’s time to prove how his team can perform this year at Nashville and beyond. Sitting second in driver points contention going into the race, as well as one top five and five top 10s in eleven apperances – a seventh place finish or better in the last three races – he knows what is possible.
“Yep, I’m fired up. There is no other way to say it. Me and my guys were seeing red, blood red, after Martinsville,” said Crafton. “We knew we were a better team than that performance, especially this year. It takes perfection at the race track week in, week out to beat the field in this environment in the Truck Series. We know we can do it. So I told my guys this week when I flew to Sandusky – ‘we are going to finish where we left off in Martinsville.’ We are, and we will, prove that we can win races and hopefully win championships with consistent performances.”
ThorSport Racing Sets Standard in 2011
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series recently reported that “ThorSport Racing is, arguably, the team to beat in 2011.” Crafton is five points away from the leader spot where his teammate, Johnny Sauter sits. Crafton has been atop the standings for the first four races of the season.
Nashville Superspeedway’s Bully Hill Vineyards 200 marks ThorSport Racing’s 327th consecutive race, matching that of Circle Bar Racing for second all-time. Crafton has been a part of the organization since 2001, one of the longest-standing driver/team owner relationships in the Series. That determination and loyalty sits well with the driver and his confidence on the race track.
“I say this all the time – Duke and Rhonda Thorson are like second parents to me. Duke and I talk on the phone sometimes twice a day, just talking about life,” says Crafton. “They are such a strong, supportive leadership team for all of their drivers. I am so confident going to the track that they ‘have my back,’ in however we perform. So me and my guys know on the 88 that we have a responsibility to that family. The Menards family, and also the ThorSport family. This can be our year.”
He went on to say that it’s time to really tackle this track. “It’s no secret that I really love asphalt tracks, and I’m pretty outspoken about it. Concrete is a challenge. But again, we really are not just competitive this year, but ready to win races at any track. We’re bringing the No. 35 chassis for the 88 team – used most recently at Darlington. It was strong there, and Bud and I have worked on it since. Time to race and show how we can make it happen in Nashville. I want a Gibson guitar.”
No. 88 Menards/Ideal Door Nashville Team Info:
11 total appearances since 2001
Crafton, past three performances:
2010 Fall: Started 6th, finished 7th
2010 Spring: Started 3rd, finished 6th
2009 Fall: Started 7th, finished 5th
No. 35, most recently used: Darlington 2011
Crew Chief: Bud Haefele
Driver Points: 2nd
Previous Finish: 11th, Martinsville Speedway
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