Where Does Matt Crafton Rank Among The Truck Series Greats?


Although the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season is still in the early stages, it’s safe to say that two-time defending series champion Matt Crafton is on pace to take his third consecutive championship. Taking into consideration that he is the only truck series driver to win consecutive titles, he’s definitely considered as being one of the greats in the series. To further that discussion, he’s only the third driver in the NCWTS’s 20-year history to win multiple titles. With that being said, the talk that he’s one of the greats is definitely validated.

Although he’s been in the series since 2000, he was a long time coming in garnering his first series win when he won at Charlotte in 2008. He was still a consistent driver, finishing second in points in 2009 despite not winning a race. He won again in 2011, but it wasn’t until his third win in 2013 that things began to fall into place. He only won once that season and twice in 2014 as both seasons were dominated by Sprint Cup drivers, but he became the first truck series champion to win back-to-back titles.

In comparison to drivers like Ron Hornaday Jr. and Jack Sprague, Crafton’s stats pale in comparison. Eight wins? Two titles? Forget it. Crafton is winning in a totally different generation. Hornaday and Sprague both owned this division when it was it’s own identity and not part of the developmental ladder.

However, take another look. The trucks still have their own identity and although it’s a watered-down version of what it once was, it’s still one of the biggest draws in NASCAR. Plus, Hornaday did win championships in this generation (’07, ’09) to go along with his ’96 and ’98 titles. If Hornaday’s championship wins could validate this new generation, then Crafton’s wins are just a valid and should be viewed in the same manner.

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Also, keep in mind that Crafton has done what Sprague and Hornaday never got to do, and that’s win consecutive championships. In the late 90s’ there was a stretch where it seemed that they traded titles every other year, but never once did either of them dominate with consistency the way Crafton has. He hasn’t been winning a lot, but he’s always been a consistent driver.

However, in 2015 Crafton is on pace to have a career season. In seven events he has a career-high three wins already, winning at Atlanta as well as earning repeat trips to Kansas’s and Texas’s Victory Lanes. He’s finished in the top-10 in every race, with a season low of eighth at Daytona. His closest competition are a couple of baby-faced hotshots who are barely north of their teens and yet he continues to run circles around them.

The NCWTS still has several races to go before Homestead but Crafton and his ThorSport Racing crew have got the championship-winning formula down to a science. He’s a lock for his third consecutive championship, and by doing so he should easily be ranked along with Hornaday and Sprague as one of the greatest drivers in the series. It shouldn’t be too much of a debate to begin with, and when the NASCAR Hall of Fame begins inducting truck series drivers Crafton will be among them.

Should Crafton be ranked among the truck series greats? Will he be among the picks for the Hall of Fame when truck series drivers begin being inducted? Weigh in below with your take.