Matt Crafton, driver of the No. 88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 5th Annual Dirt Derby 150 at Eldora Speedway.
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ROSSBURG, Ohio – Using a late-race restart 18 laps from the finish and a strategy to ‘go where the others aren’t,’ Matt Crafton muscled past veteran dirt racer Stewart Friesen to win Wednesday night’s fifth annual Eldora Dirt Derby 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway.
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Crafton ends drought, captures Eldora Dirt Derby victoryBy NASCAR Wire Service NASCAR.com July 19, 2017 at 11:48 pm
Over the last 40 laps of the race, Crafton patiently worked his way from the bottom of the top 10 and took advantage of a Lap 127 caution to position himself to challenge a dominant Friesen for his first win since a victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway last May.
“My first dirt win — a lot of fun,” said Crafton, who picked up his 14th career win. “In the second part of that race we downright just stunk. It was my fault. We over-tightened it a little bit in the first run. It got free and we just went back to the way we started the race.
“I knew I was getting beat down low. Finally, at the end, I said, ‘Well, we may have to tear the right side off to get the win.’ I started doing it and this truck became a rocket ship.”
Friesen finished second to earn his career-best finish in the Truck Series.
“Congrats to Matt, he’s been doing his homework on the dirt and it paid off,” said Friesen, who led a race-high 93 laps.
“We didn’t come here to run second that’s for damn sure, but I’m proud of these guys. They worked hard to get this truck dialed in. We had a great truck, he (Crafton) just got rolling on the top, it cleaned up, I was so committed to the bottom and go there in the middle and he just found a line and got us. It burns.”
Pole-sitter Friesen led his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series laps and extended his lead to nearly two seconds when a multi-truck accident ignited in Turn 3 on Lap 19 after Sheldon Creed spun and collected at least six other trucks in the process.
With a competition caution set at Lap 20 to allow teams to clean their windshields and grilles of the mud and dirt sprayed during the first run, NASCAR utilized the second yellow flag of the night to serve as the competition caution.
On the Lap 33 restart, Friesen found himself under attack from two-time series champion Crafton, who swiped the lead away on Lap 34 and held it through the conclusion of Stage 1, which ended under caution after pre-race favorite Christopher Bell spun and was T-boned by Kaz Grala. http://www.nascar.com/en_us/camping-world-truck-series.html
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