Handling problems plague Crafton

Nigel Kinrade/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

HOMESTEAD, Fla.— The Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway was not what Matt Crafton had in mind as he was trying to battle for a championship.

After struggling in the early morning practice sessions, Crafton felt that when he took the green flag that the car would help him fight for a championship. However, as the opening run of the race went on, the car began to become freer than when he first started. The No. 88 ThorSport Racing team made adjustments throughout the night to tighten up the car.

“We dropped the green, and as bad as we were today during practice, when we took off, it was like, whoa, we’ve got something for these guys, and about halfway, three quarters of the way through the run we started getting freer and freer and freer and then just lost all forward drive off the corner.  Made an adjustment and really kind of numbed to it, and the last adjustment made it a little bit better, and then about halfway, three quarter way through the run it just lost all drive again,” said Crafton.

As the race progressed, the crew began the be frazzled as they tried to figure out what adjustments to make to the car. Despite numerous adjustments, the team could not seem to get a handle on the race car.

“We rolled off the trailer it was the same way.  We could get into the corner decent and just before the center of the corner it would just step sideways and have zero drive off the corner,” Crafton stated. “Made a lot of changes to qualify and actually made it tight to qualify, and then we went to race, and it went.  Just was sideways, and we could not get the handle on that thing for whatever reason.

On a scale of one to 10, Crafton said that the car was about an eight when it needed to be near a one.

Although he was unable to score a championship, Crafton was proud of the work and effort his team put in this 2017 season.

“All in all, can’t thank these guys enough, everybody back at the shop.  They work so hard on these trucks to give us this opportunity that Duke and Rhonda Thorson, Menard’s, and it wouldn’t be possible without everybody that — I mean, starting at the top with Duke and Rhonda and Menard’s,” Crafton stated.

Crafton believes that the organization will be fine in 2018 as they ride the wave of momentum going into the offseason.

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