Fresh off win, confident Crafton ready to chase another title
Throughout his lengthy career in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Matt Crafton has used consistency as his primary recipe for success.
Race wins, while not completely missing, have traditionally been sparse at best.
"I would think so," Crafton, who owns four wins in 318 truck starts, said in an exclusive interview with FOXSports.com. "We’ve got some really good momentum from last year, winning the championship. There’s a lot of people that said we were riding around at the end of the year, top-10ing them, but at the same time, we kind of had to protect what we had, couldn’t take any really big chances to lose that big points lead that we had, so we were just smart at the end of the season.
"Now we just wanted to shut everybody up and go out and hopefully get some wins at the beginning of the season."
So far, so good.
After Sunday’s victory at Martinsville — a track, by the way, where Crafton had never won before — the Tulare, Calif., native is tied for third in the Truck Series standings and sits a scant four points behind co-championship leaders Timothy Peters and Johnny Sauter.
"Oh yeah, without a doubt," he said. "It’s just always been everybody’s had their sophomore jinx, you might call it, after winning the championship and then the second year having some bad luck. You never know. You’ve got to be lucky and you’ve got to be good at the same time to have everything go your way to win championships. So hopefully we can have the luck on our side, because I know we’ve got some really good trucks and some really good people building the trucks. So we should be fine."
"It rewards the guy that can be consistent and not have those bad races, because with the points system the way it is, you have that bad race and you can lose a ton," Crafton said of the Truck Series points system. "It’s just minimizing mistakes. That’s really, really key. I mean, it is in every series and any points system but just the way it is (in the Truck Series), it definitely makes it a little more critical."
"It’s a huge, huge weight off my shoulders because we had finished second before and I’d finished fourth, I’d been close and been the bridesmaid and all that, but we hadn’t done it," said Crafton, who was the series runner-up in 2009. "So now I’ve got that off my shoulders and I know this year if we are leading the points, I’m definitely not going to be as nervous and as wound up about it, and I might be able to sleep a little better at night."
"I hate it, to be totally honest," Crafton said. "We need more races. I know what they’re trying to do is make it where it saves teams money but at the end of the day, it doesn’t. If you’ve got a sponsor and you’re getting paid per race, it’s taking money out of your pocket because you’re not getting paid by sponsors to go to the racetrack, but you’re still having to pay the employees to work on the trucks. You can’t just tell them to take the next four weeks off and go without pay. Owners have to pay the people, and with sponsor dollars, you’re losing by not going to the racetrack."
"It was huge momentum for this five weeks that we have off," he said. "We’re going to be winners for five weeks in a row. Whenever you’re in the midst of the race season and you win one, you’re already on to the next one the following week. At least we’ve got five weeks to gloat about it."