Matt Crafton Having Fun While Slinging Dirt

Matt Crafton on track at Volusia Speedway Park last February during the DIRTcar Nationals. (Chris Seelman Photo)

CONCORD, N.C. — Matt Crafton has been keeping busy when he isn’t on the road with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Crafton, a two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, has been taking his open-wheel dirt modified on the road these last few months. He competed during the DIRTcar Nationals in Florida in February and more recently has been slinging dirt at tracks such as North Carolina’s Fayetteville Motor Speedway.

The 40-year-old driver said the chance to take his modified out to the track has been a great way for him to just have fun in a race car.

“I’ve tried to run all the weekends that I’ve had off. I’ve had so much fun doing it and getting to hang out with my dad,” said Crafton, who was at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday for a test session featuring the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series.

The veteran driver joked that his dirt racing skills aren’t that great, but it’s a fun way to spend his time away from the NASCAR circuit.

“Honestly it’s funny to me because for the first five laps I’m so, so terrible. I’m never really good, but for the first five laps I’m really, really bad because I have all the asphalt experience. But I have a blast with it,” Crafton said.

Crafton and the rest of the Truck Series has been off since April 1, but he and the rest of the series will get back on the road on May 12 when the series visits Kansas Speedway. That will kick-start a busy summer stretch that includes 11 races between May and August.

He said the test session on Tuesday will help his ThorSport Racing team develop setups for all the other 1.5-mile tracks on the schedule. Those 1.5-mile tracks represent a large chunk of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series calendar.

“We’re just working on our mile-and-a-half program,” Crafton said. “At the end of the day, we have probably three or four different setups and things to try. We know what our package was that we won here with last year and we know we really pretty well on the mile and a half.

“Junior (Joiner) and the guys back at the shop have been working on a lot of ideas and we’ll try those hopefully we find something that has a little bit more speed,” Crafton said.