All he had to do was start the race and Matt Crafton clinched his very first Championship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
In a race full of drama and hard racing, nothing compared to seeing Crafton hold up that trophy that was a long time coming. Thirteen seasons in the Truck Series, Crafton started the Ford Ecoboost 200 in 11th but ended up finishing 21st after being collected in a green-white-checkered finish.
“It’s an honor,” an emotional Crafton said after the race. “To be able to do it for (team owners) Duke and Rhonda Thorson that have been doing this for 18 years and give them their first championship … and me driving for them for 13 years full time … for (sponsor) Menards and all the people that have been behind me, and every one of these guys that work on this truck, it’s an honor to be able to give them this championship. These guys are the ones that work so hard. I’m just the one who gets to celebrate and look like a hero, because I get to drive a great truck all year.”
Besides the drivers championship, Crafton was also battling for the owners title, which was handed to Kyle Busch in a tie-breaker for most wins.
2013 was no doubt the most impressive season of Crafton’s career. His one win this season came at Kansas early in the season. That win propelled him to the top of the standings where he remained all season. With 7 top-5′s and 19 top-10s in 22 races, he was no doubt one of the most consistent drivers in all three of NASCAR’s top series.
Crafton will get the chance to race for the title once again wen he returns to the ThorSport Racing No.88 truck in 2014.