By Christian Koelle, Staff Writer
Friday night just wasn’t the night that Matt Crafton and his team needed to deliver his fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. Crafton finished 12th which ultimately landed him fourth in the points standings to put an end to Crafton’s 22nd year in the Truck Series.
“We were just really loose off the corner and couldn’t finish throttle,” Crafton said about what he was missing. “We were that way in practice and we just chalked it up that it was just a cool morning and we didn’t panic. We didn’t want to over adjust it and then we qualified decently but then we were just sideways all night long.”
“I was loose, I don’t know what else to say,” Crafton said with a bit of frustration. “It was just loose all night center off the corner and I could finish the throttle under that thing and couldn’t get it quick enough so they were just beating me off the corner.”
Crafton’s fourth place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings is his third straight top-five finish in points and eighth finish fifth or better in points in the last 10 seasons. Carl Joiner had been on the pit box for all 10 of those seasons but on Friday night, it was the last, as first reported in the FOX Sports 1 broadcast.
Crafton confirmed that very news in the post race media availability noting that Joiner was planning on spending more time at home in California.
“I worked with a new crew chief before him and we’ll do it again,” said Crafton about having a new crew chief in 2022. “Junior and I has been like my brother so I understand where he’s coming from. He moved out here, well I mean moved back to California and he wanted to just do something different. He wants to spend it with his family and do everything he wants to do. So we’re focused on 2022 and figuring out our crew chief and the other lineup for the rest of it.”
Together, we won three championships in the Truck Series,” added Crafton on the success the duo has had. “We won four total championships including one in the Southwest Tour and as I said, we’ve won a lot of races together.”
Crafton completed start No. 498 Friday night embarking closer to a monumental 500 starts in the Truck Series. The 500th start is slated to come on March 4th, 2022 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. If you would’ve seen Crafton during the postrace at Phoenix, he’s already focused on the 2022 season with 104 days until the green flag drops at Daytona.