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Crafton wins rain-delayed Martinsville Truck race

It might have been more than a day late, but the NASCAR Camping World truck Series Kroger 250 was by no means a dollar short on entertainment on Sunday.
Full race results, qualifying and practice speeds and Camping World Truck Series championship standings

Sunday afternoon delivered a rare NASCAR doubleheader event at Martinsville Speedway, with just 15 minutes separating the end of the Sprint Cup Series race won by Kurt Busch and the start of the pre-race activities for the Camping World truck Series Kroger 250.

The doubling up of events on the same afternoon was because of the rain that had fallen on Saturday, washing all all track time at the half-mile short track which included not only qualifying for the Truck race, but the race itself which had to be rolled over to Sunday with the starting grid set by speeds from Friday's practice sessions instead.

That put Darrell Wallace Jr. on pole position at the venue where he recorded his first career Truck Series win last autumn, with Ryan Blaney alongside him for the start of the race but soon demoted to second by Timothy Peters after the green flag. Peters took the lead on lap 15 during a restart following an early caution for a spin in turn 2 for Norm Benning, but Wallace stayed close and was back in front by the time the next caution came out on lap 35 for a spin involving Raymond Terczak Jr. in the #56.

Ron Hornaday Jr. won the race off to lead for the next 62 which culminated in a three-car accident in turn 3 between Ray Black Jr., Mason Mingus and Clay Greenfield. Wallace and Blaney traded the lead back and forth at the restart until Johnny Sauter stepped in and took over on lap 112, keeping the position through the next caution for contact between Spencer Gallagher and Bryan Silas but ultimately being forced to give way to Peters on lap 178 after a prolonged battle between the pair.

Peters returned to the lead after a final cycle of pit stops under yellow for Jeb Burton spinning out in turn 2, but in this evening phase of the race under waning light (and with no floodlights at Martinsville) Peters appeared to have nothing to offer against a determined charge from Matt Crafton, who after a sluggish start had slowly found his form to finally take over on lap 209 and continued to lead for the next 40 laps through cautions for debris (on lap 227) and for Hornaday being turned into the wall in turn 3 while battling with German Quiroga (on lap 233.)

That put Crafton within touching distance of the chequered flag and what would be potential fourth victory in 318 truck starts. However, Crafton was thwarted when a new caution came out just six laps from the end of the race for a multi-vehicle accident between Cole Custer, Gray Gaulding and Brandon Jones which set up a green-white-chequered shootout to decide the race. The first attempt to finish the race was derailed when Sauter got into the back of Erik Jones and spun him, but the second GWC attempt lasted long enough to get Crafton passed the white flag so that when the race was called he was able to head for vitory lane and pick up the distinctive grandfather clock that is the trademark winners' trophy at Martinsville.

"At the beginning of the day, we were terrible," admitted Crafton afterwards. "I'm not going to lie. We were terrible. We were really, really tight from the center off. I didn't think we were going to get it right there on those first two runs, but that's just the way these guys never give up ... We made track bar adjustment, another track bar adjustment, air pressure adjustment and finally we got that thing going."

It was Crafton's first win at Martinsville, and it came after a race that saw a total of 17 lead changes, a new track record breaking the previous highwater mark of 13 set last year. Wallace held on to second place ahead of Ben Kennedy, while Sauter survived his late contact with Jones to come home in fourth place ahead of Blaney and Quiroga who were followed across the line by Ben Rhodes and Timothy Peters just in time before twilight finally fell over the froxzen and windy circuit.

In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings - just two races into the 22-race season - Timothy Peters and Johnny Sauter are tied in the lead on 82 points, but Crafton's victory moves him up seven spots into third place just four points further back. Ben Kennedy and Darrell Wallace Jr. also move into the top ten on the back of their strong performances at Martinsville.

Full race results, qualifying and practice speeds and Camping World Truck Series championship standings



Related Pictures

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Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 Toyota No. 1 For Everyone Sales Event Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Doors / Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Gray Gaulding, driver of the #20 Gemini Southern / Krispy Kreme Chevrolet, is involved in an on track incident with Brandon Jones, driver of the #33 EXIDE Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Doors / Menards Toyota, poses in Victory Lane with the trophy after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
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Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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