HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Matt Crafton was the definition of consistency during the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.
In 21 races in 2013, Crafton picked up one victory, seven top fives and 19 top 10s in 22 events. It was that consistency made the difference for Crafton as he secured his first series championship in the No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota.
Crafton began the year with a streak of 16 consecutive top-10 finishes, including top-five results at Martinsville (second-place), Kansas (victory), Charlotte (fourth), Dover (second), Texas (fourth) and Chicagoland (fourth). The Tulare, Calif.-native held the lead in the series standings since the fourth race of the year.
“It’s an honor to be able to drive this Menards Toyota Tundra,” said Crafton. “To be able to do this for Duke and Rhonda Thorson (team owners) that have been doing this for 18 years, and to give them their first championship and me driving for them for 14 years. For Menards and all the people that have been behind me, 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 that gets to celebrate and look like the hero because I got to drive a great truck all year.”
The 2013 season marked Crafton’s 14th season racing in the Truck Series. He made his series debut in 2000, but it took him until 2008 to break into victory lane for the first time at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
It was that victory that jumpstarted his career. The following season he finished second in the series championship standings despite going winless, showing that he had the consistency required to be a championship contender.
Finally, in 2013, everything fell into place for Crafton and his crew at Thorsport Racing.
“We built this thing as a group,” said Crafton, who has driven for ThorSport during 291 of his 316 series starts. “Each and every year we got it better and better. It’s just been awesome. I can’t thank them enough. Every one of these guys that work on this team, every one of the guys that have been behind the scenes have just worked their butts off. From the guys at the shop to the guys that hang the bodies, the guy that paints them – every one of them. I can’t thank them enough.”