Tundra driver Matt Crafton (fourth) was the top-finishing Toyota driver in Thursday evening’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at Kentucky Speedway.
Crafton started from the pole and led the field four times for 27 laps (of 150) at the 1.5-mile oval.
By finishing fifth in the NCWTS race, Tundra driver Timothy Peters took the NCWTS points lead. Peters leads second-place Justin Lofton by four points in the series standings.
Crafton’s ThorSport Racing teammate, Johnny Sauter (sixth), and Tundra driver Jason Leffler (eighth) also claimed top-10 finishes in the 225-mile race.
Other Tundra drivers in the field included Dakoda Armstrong (13th), David Starr (15th), Todd Bodine (28th), John Wes Townley (32nd) and Ross Chastain (33rd).
MATT CRAFTON, No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing Finishing Position: 4th How fast was your Tundra tonight? “Very fast. We just had one restart where they got us when they fanned us out three-wide and we fell to about seventh and drove back to third — and we had a fast truck. This Menard’s Toyota — it was so good. In the middle of the race it didn’t quite fire off as well. We made one adjustment right there at the end and that was it — it fired off a lot better on that last run, but we just lost track position because some of those guys took two tires. All in all, not a bad night.”
When did you get caught up on the track? “On that last restart. When the 31 (James Buescher) got clear of those guys with two tires and I didn’t get clear of them for a minute — I knew we were kind of in trouble at that point. I knew we were going to need a yellow.”
Does it give you confidence having good runs in the last two races (Kentucky and Texas)? “We’re going to win races. This thing was fast — very fast. It was all about track position tonight. We’re going to win some more races for sure.”
TIMOTHY PETERS, No. 17 Red Horse Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing Finishing Position: 5th How was your race tonight? “It wasn’t bad considering for the way we unloaded. This is by far leaps and bounds better than the way we hit the track this morning for the first practice. Just goes to show you these guys never quit on this Toyota Tundra. We stayed up front where we could see it most of the night and when it counted, Butch (Hylton, crew chief) made a good call and put right sides (tires) on and we were able to come home with a top-five finish. Leave here with the points lead and go to Iowa and maybe get us a win.”
Did the track change much during the race? “It didn’t change as much as much as I would have liked for it to. We made an adjustment that put us on the other side of the fence from loose to tight, and we ended just a little tight with the anticipation of the track really going to free up, and it didn’t do that. A lot of guys were slipping and sliding — I think that was to our advantage. We just hurt the right front (tire) later in the run.”
How does it feel to have the points lead? “Twice in one year, you know I need to pinch myself. Still got a long ways to go, but it’s a short long ways to go. Try not to think big picture, but in the meantime we’re going to do what we can and win us a race.”
Do you feel like there’s a target on your back having the points lead? “Not at all. Setting the bar and giving them something to shoot for.”
JOHNNY SAUTER, No. 13 Hot Honeys/Curb Records Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing Finishing Position: 6th How was your race tonight? “It was alright. Struggled all day with our Hot Honeys/Curb Records Toyota just to get the balance right and we got it at least to where I could drive it at the end, but it’s still just not what we need. Obviously, this race track is really rough, so grip wins the race. We got a lot better, but just needed more.”
JASON LEFFLER, No. 18 Dollar General Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports Finishing Position: 8th How was your race tonight? “It was a battle for us — the Dollar General Tundra was not as good as we needed it to be, but the guys did a good job battling. Took two tires and tried to get track position and didn’t have enough speed and struggled with that all day really. We thought we had a pretty good truck — in practice we thought we were okay. The guys did a great job, so on to Iowa, on to Chicago.”
DAKODA ARMSTRONG, No. 98 EverFi.com Toyota Tundra, ThorSport Racing Finishing Position: 13th “We were definitely better at the end of the race than we started the day. Dan Stillman (crew chief) and the EverFi crew did a really great job of making adjustments throughout the race and we were able to avoid all of the accidents luckily. I can’t believe how slick the track was tonight, it was really wild. Happy we can come home with a good finish and end the race strong.”
DAVID STARR, No. 81 Build Your Future/Zachry’s Tundra, Arrington Racing Finishing Position: 15th
TODD BODINE, No. 11 Toyota Care Toyota Tundra, Red Horse Racing Finishing Position: 28th What caused the incident that forced you out of the race? “I thought Justin (Lofton) was blowing up — he slowed down so much and I went three-wide — and obviously he wasn’t blowing up and drove it down in the corner right on me. These trucks are so aero-sensitive you can’t pinch somebody down like that — even if you’re three-wide, you’ve got to give room. I thought he was blowing up, so I went three-wide and got sucked around.”
How loose was your truck this evening? “We’ve been loose in the whole time and I knew going under Justin (Lofton) there — like I said, I thought he was blowing up, so I wouldn’t be beside him, but I ended up beside him and got sucked around. We were loose in and we did a lot of different things to fix it and never fixed it. I hate it for Toyota Care. They came on board four races to help us out and get us through this hump and we’ve got a lot of potential sponsors out there watching and we really didn’t need this.”
JOHN WES TOWNLEY, No. 09 Toyota Tundra, RAB Racing Finishing Position: 32nd
ROSS CHASTAIN, No. 08 South Carolina Watermelon Association Toyota Tundra, Green Light Racing Finishing Position: 33rd