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Crafton wins truck race at Texas, reclaims points lead



Fort Worth, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Crafton took the lead again in the Camping World Truck Series point standings after winning Friday night's WinStar World Casino 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Crafton, the defending series champion, put on a dominating performance by leading 118 of 167 laps but had to conserve his fuel in the closing stages after last pitting with 61 laps to go.

"This truck was just flawless," Crafton said. "It could go anywhere it wanted to go."

While the other front runners pitted for a splash of gas during the final 10 laps, Crafton and crew chief Carl Joiner opted not to pit. The gamble paid off for Crafton, as he claimed his second win of the season and the fifth of his Truck Series career. His first victory this season came in March at Martinsville.

"I asked them [No. 88 team], 'Can we make it all the way,' and they said, 'Yeah'," Crafton noted. "We got such a big lead. I think that's what actually helped us, because I could slow down so much and save so much fuel at that point. They would slow me down for five laps and then let me run for five laps and slow me down again. That is one of the hardest things to do as a race car driver, to slow down in order to win a race."

It's the first time in Crafton's 15-year truck career that he has won multiple races in a season. His margin of victory was 13.302 seconds, which set a new track record for a truck event at Texas. Crafton made his record-extending 322nd start in the series.

This was Crafton's first win in 27 truck races at Texas. He had finished second here three times.

With the win, Crafton grabbed an 11-point lead over Johnny Sauter, his ThorSport Racing teammate. Sauter finished seventh.

Following his victory at Martinsville, Crafton had finished second to Kyle Busch at Kansas and Charlotte, which are 1.5-mile racetracks similar to Texas, but Crafton placed 23rd one week ago at Dover after crashing late in that race. It was his first DNF since the 2012 season-opener at Daytona, and he fell to second in the standings, one point behind Timothy Peters.

Justin Lofton, the pole sitter, finished second, while Joe Nemechek crossed the line in third. Ryan Blaney, who led 45 laps, was fourth and John Wes Townley fifth.

Ron Hornaday Jr. took the sixth spot. Bryan Silas, Joey Coulter and Darrell Wallace Jr. completed the top-10.

Peters finished 24th after he was involved in an accident on lap 54. His Red Horse Racing teammate, German Quiroga, blew an engine and dropped oil on the track. Peters ran over the oil and slid up the track before colliding into the wall. He dropped to fifth in the standings (-27).

"I was getting off the gas as soon as I saw German blowing and tried to go low to get on the apron, but the oil trail had already started too soon, so I just got into it and was just along for the ride," Peters said.

Erik Jones finished 11th in Kyle Busch Motorsports' No. 51 Toyota. Busch has driven that truck to victory in four of the first six races this season. It was the first time Jones competed on an intermediate track. He turned 18 years old one week ago.

Jones opted to forego his high school graduation Friday night at Swartz Creek (Mich.) Community Schools to compete at Texas. But during pre-race activities, Jones, who was donned in his graduation cap and gown, made his way across the frontstretch stage to the music of "Pomp and Circumstance" and received his high school diploma from track president Eddie Gossage.

"Texas Motor Speedway was gracious to get this all together and actually do a graduation for real," Jones said. "Being able to graduate at a racetrack, I don't think I would have had it any other way."

06/07 01:22:56 ET


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