By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
Matt Crafton is known for consistency, and that’s exactly what got him into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs for 2022.
Beating competitor Derek Kraus by 16 points at the conclusion of Saturday’s CRC Brakleen 150 from Pocono Raceway, Crafton will run for a record-tying fourth championship in the seven-race title fight.
At least, in theory. Following the 15th-place finish in Pocono, Crafton was straightforward about his season to date.
“To be honest, it was absolutely the crappiest year I’ve had to date that I can remember in the Truck Series.”
The stats back up Crafton’s bold statement, as the No. 88 ThorSport Toyota has only one top-five finish through 16 races in 2022. That would be his lowest since 2003. Additionally, his laps led and championship points position (10th) would be his lowest since 2006.
With only one win in the series since 2017, Crafton is looking for fast changes to save his season.
“We could not put anything together,” he said of the regular season. “We would have one good race and then the next three or four would be terrible. We were beating ourselves way too many times this year.”
Though it’s been a tough year, Crafton has seen similar years end in positive light. The Californian entered last year’s playoffs with only two top-five finishes, yet, aligned strong runs throughout the postseason to makes the Championship 4 in Phoenix.
With the experience of three championships and more than 500 Truck Series starts, Crafton knows everything is on the table for Team 88.
“I think we have the problem under control,” he said. “I feel confident going to some worn-out racetracks where you actually get to lift out of the throttle and not just hold it wide open for 90 percent of the lap. It was such a hard season. You definitely didn’t… want to get booted. There is definitely a little pressure off us.”