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Crafton romps to Texas Truck win

Reigning champion Matt Crafton claimed his second win of the year at Texas on Friday evening to go into the lead of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Full race results, plus qualifying and practice and full Camping World Truck Series championship standings.

Reigning NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton pulled off a dominant display to win the WinStar World Casino 400 race under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday evening, clinching victory by the biggest margin ever seen in a Truck race at the circuit.

"It's awesome to be able to do it in this fashion," said Crafton after claiming his first win at Texas in 13 years. "We marched through them. We had a brand new motor package from Triad and they stepped up as well. I'm just lucky enough to drive it. We have an awesome organisation. We have every tool to work with and it's so cool to be in victory lane in Texas."

With this week's event taking place in Texas, the field was down in numbers as it was lacking any of the usual Sprint Cup regulars who would normally have undertaken double duty, but who were instead at work on the other side of the country at Pocono. That allowed Justin Lofton to win his second pole in 82 Truck races with a lap of 30.054s (179.677 mph) on the 1.455-mile high-banked oval. He was just 0.049s faster than Crafton, who started the race lined up alongside him on the front row for the green flag.

Crafton immediately took charge of proceedings and led for the first 36 laps until the first caution for Norm Benning spinning out after contact with Tyler Reddick. Ryan Blaney took the lead at the restart but there was a quick second caution on lap 45 when Reddick then went into the wall at turn 4, and when racing resumed Crafton was quick to get back to the front before a third caution on lap 54 as Red Horse Racing experienced a double blow, German Quiroga Jr blowing an engine and Timothy Peters' #17 then getting caught out by fluid dropped by his team mate and ending his race in the wall at turn 1.

Crafton opted for a four-tyre pit stop under the caution and dropped to eighth place with everyone ahead of him opting for fuel-only. That put Blaney back on point ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr, Erik Jones and Justin Lofton for the restart, and with the race finally hitting a lengthy green flag spell Blaney was able to lead for the next 34 laps before Crafton was able to make his way forward and reassert his control on lap 93.

After that there was little argument, Crafton maintaining the lead to the finish for all except two laps for a pit stop under the fourth and final caution of the evening for debris in turn 4 on lap 103. That left everyone on a knife-edge with regards to having enough fuel to make it to the finish, but despite this Crafton crossed the finish line more that 13 seconds clear of Lofton having led for 118 of the 167-lap race to record his fifth victory in 322 Truck Series races and his second of the year after also winning at Martinsville.

"I asked if we could make it all the way," said Crafton, describing the fuel saving he'd needed to undertake in the final 61-lap stint. "They said 'yeah.' That helped because I could slow down so much. They'd let me run for five laps and then slow down for five laps. That is the hardest thing to do for a driver. But we had the fastest truck."

Despite the margin Crafton had over him, Lofton seemed happy enough with second place - his best result in a Truck race at Texas - ahead of Joe Nemechek in what is only Lofton's second start in the series in 2014. "It's definitely an exciting day for me," he said. "Sometimes a driver just clicks with a track and we had a great truck and qualified on the pole.

"We made adjustments throughout the race but right at the end we definitely hit on something, [but] as soon as I left my pit box we were on fuel conservation mode," he added. "I wish we could have pushed him to run him out of fuel - he said his truck ran out of fuel when he started his donuts. But we're here, our guys did a great job calculating fuel."

Blaney fell off the pace in the final stint and finished in fourth, almost half a minute behind Crafton. John Wes Townley and Ron Hornaday Jr. rounded out the top six.

In the NASCAR Camping World Truck series championship, Crafton's win means that the 37-year-old takes over the lead from Timothy Peters by 11 points with Johnny Sauter in second after finishing in seventh place this weekend in Texas. In the car owners standings, the #51 Kyle Busch Motorsport still has an 18 points lead over the #88 ThorSport, despite the truck finishing in 11th place a lap down in the absence of the eponymous team owner. Busch's place in the #51 had been filled by Erik Jones, who had just graduated from high school before the start of the race.

Full race results, plus qualifying and practice and full Camping World Truck Series championship standings.



Related Pictures

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Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Slim Jim/Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Slim Jim/Menards Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Slim Jim/Menards Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino & Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 6, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
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