Chase or No Chase, Matt Crafton Just Wants to Win

Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor

FORT WORTH, TX – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter locked himself into the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway by winning last weekend at Martinsville Speedway. All he really had to do for the next two races is ride around, take it easy, and avoid putting himself in precarious positions. Basically, the only requirement was for him to show up.

But Sauter is a racer, and racers go for wins … no matter what.

Sauter was in second with just a handful of laps remaining, right behind fellow Chase driver Matt Crafton. Sauter got a run and drove around Crafton with just one lap to go, making it look easy as he cruised to back-to-back victories.

Crafton, who has two victories already this season, was also trying to clinch a spot in the Championship 4 at Homestead, but instead had to settle for a runner-up spot.

Crafton is fourth in points with just a one-point advantage over fifth-place Timothy Peters. If Crafton isn’t able to maintain his position next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, Sauter may very well have blocked the entry of the No. 88 truck into the championship round.

“Matt was very content to stay on the bottom,” said Sauter post-race. “I was surprised by that. He gave me the whole top and I was able to run wide open like I needed to. It’s cool to be able to keep him from winning a race, there’s no doubt about it, because if he has any trouble in Phoenix, then hopefully we won’t have to race him for a championship come Miami.”

Crafton, however, is a racer too, and wanted to make another trip to Victory Lane in what perhaps might have been his most important victory to date.

“It is what it is, I’m not worried about the Chase,” said Crafton, who was teammates with Sauter for several years before Sauter moved on to another team. “I’m worried about winning races and the Chase will take care of itself. We’ll just go to Phoenix and go there to win the race. We’ve come very close there. It’s kind of a home track. It’s close to where I grew up. I grew up in California and raced quite a few races there. Really looking forward to going to Phoenix and hopefully to capitalize and win one there and carry some momentum into Homestead.”

Crafton – and the other Chase drivers – will have one more opportunity this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway where the other three championship drivers will be determined. The race begins at 8:30PM ET on Friday, November 11th.

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