Matt Crafton’s night at Homestead-Miami Speedway was not easy, but it ended with a championship celebration.
By taking the green flag to start Friday’s Ford EcoBoost 200, ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton would be crowned the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion.
That didn’t stop Crafton and the field of 35 other drivers from putting on one of the best races of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
While simply starting the race ensured Crafton his first career NASCAR driver’s championship, it was not enough to lock up the owner’s championship. That battle would come down to a tie-breaker between Kyle Busch Motorsports and ThorSport Motorsports.
Just as it looked as if Kyle Busch was going to drive away to another win, a caution flew with only four laps to go. With the field bunched up for the green-white-checkered restart, the hungry truckers geared up to get all they could and leave it all on the track.
Running around the back of the field on the first attempt at a GWC, Crafton tried to make a move to the outside of Joey Coulter exiting Turn 2, but the hole would close quickly. They pair made contact and both trucks sustained damage. After a hard-fought night, and Busch out front in the No. 51 KBM truck, the owner’s title was up for grabs.
The action brought many in the NASCAR Twittersphere to their feet.
Never been so nervous watching a truck race. Really want that owners championship!
The drama did not end there, however, as the field would make the maximum three attempts at a GWC finish, each time testing Busch’s will to stay out front and Crafton’s ability to handle a damaged truck and make up spots.
Three GWC restarts later, Busch was able to hold off Brendan Gaughan and a hard-charging Ryan Blaney to score his 25th career Truck Series win. As Busch was taking the checkers up front, Crafton limped home 21st.
The driver’s championship was solidly Crafton’s, but the victory by Busch served as the tie-breaker that gave it’s first NASCAR owner’s title.
Has anyone ever driven for all three championship team owners in one year? #KyleBusch
For Crafton, the title was the culmination of a career’s worth of efforts. After 13 full seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Crafton was finally able to hoist the trophy and call himself champion.
Perhaps most impressive of all, Crafton finished every single lap run this season.
His championship was certainly popular among his fellow competitors.