May 15th, 2011
ThorSport Racing PR
Bad Luck Ends Day Early for Crafton at ARCA Racing Series Menards 200 in Toledo
Blown Tire After Solid Practice and Race Runs; NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Points Leader Led 10 Laps & Averaged Sixth Place
Toledo, Ohio – The day didn’t go as expected in Toledo, Ohio for Matt Crafton and No. 88 Menards car, fielded by Kimmel Racing as part of the Menards partnership. After a solid day leading practice times in first practice and averaging fourth fastest in second practice; as well as an impressive first 135 laps – the driver had a front left tire go down, forcing the team to pit early and take the car two laps down in the pack. After returning to the field in the 19th spot, he would later go on to wheel it in under the checkers in 17th.
On a blustery, rainy day in Toledo, the cars lined the grid in order of owner points due to weather – placing Crafton in the 24th spot on the grid. The race began under green/yellow flag conditions for twenty laps to heat and dry the track. Going green, Crafton piloted the No. 88 Menards car quickly to a top five position – which he held through lap 63, when he and crew chief Bud Haefele decided to pit before the field, for two tires and a trackbar adjustment.
Restarting 20th, Crafton again showed his driving prowess by motoring down to the eighth position within fifteen laps, then taking the lead for 14 laps. At lap 135, the left front tire blew, forcing the driver to pit out of cycle as the field stayed out with fresh tires. After a quick repair job by the No. 88 Menards crew, Crafton would return to the field in 19th position and later finish 17th.
“I joked with Bud at the end of the race that maybe we’ve gotten all of our bad luck out of the way for the year with this race,” Crafton said with a smile. “This was a pretty good car, it was tight in the middle, but nothing to worry me about the tires. The irony is, that car was running fantastic after the tire blew and I came in. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough cautions to give us the Lucky Dog twice to put us back on the lead lap.”
“It’s fun to get a chance to come back and race in the ARCA Racing Series as part of my partnership with Menards. I would have loved to pull out a win for my sponsor today. We had the strategy and team to do it,” he continued. “The Menards 200 is a great celebration of what Menards does with their stores in this area. It was great to see Frank Kimmel running well in his Menards car as well for a while there. We’re looking forward to racing again in Indianapolis at the ARCA Racing Series. Thanks also to Frank and his team for fielding this car for us.”
NEXT RACE:NC Education Lottery 200 – Charlotte Motor Speedway – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Friday, May 20th, 2011
NEXT ARCA RACING SERIES RACE FOR CRAFTON:Ansell Protective Gloves 200 – Lucas Oil Speedway Thursday, July 28th, 2011
Find Matt Crafton on Social Media:Facebook: ThorSport Racing Matt Crafton Official Fan Page