By Justin Schuoler, Staff Writer
Matt Crafton sat just six points above the cut line at the start of the race.
Disaster struck before the green flag even waved.
Crafton Fought on the 2023 Playoff Bubble All Season
The No. 88 truck was in single-digit territory earlier this year at Pocono Raceway.
During practice, Matt Crafton crashed just two laps into the session after running over debris from an earlier incident. After assessing the damage, the No. 88 ThorSport Racing team elected to roll out their backup truck and start from the rear of the field.
“My team did a great job,” said Crafton about his team’s night. “It all comes down to lap 2 in practice when the [No.] 9 truck wrecked… We ran through the debris when we went back out there. It’s the cards we were dealt, and it folded really crappy for us.”
But it doesn’t go without saying that Crafton was determined to lift his team out of the slumps. In Stage 1, he clawed his way through the field and nearly entered the top 10. Contact with the wall, flat tires and another issue on pit road relegated him to a 33rd place finish, nine laps off the pace.
They did a half-assed job cleaning the racetrack off of Turn 2.
“As the driver, I busted my butt trying to make something happen,” continued Crafton. “Trying to get up there and get as many points as we could.
“I have to thank these guys. They worked their butt off today. From wrecking that truck in practice and wrecking in the race, it wasn’t meant to be.”
It’s clear his frustration was still present and not directed at his team. Instead, his disappointment was in the cleanup efforts during the practice session that wrecked his Ford F-150 and blew tires of other trucks that ran over debris remaining on the track from Colby Howard’s crash just minutes before.
“They did a half-assed job cleaning the racetrack off of Turn 2,” Crafton sparked when reviewing his practice incident. “(They) Got in a hurry, and a bunch of people went through there and blew tires – we were one of them. At the end of the day, you have to thank the clean-up crew that didn’t do their job in Turn 4, and then that got us behind.
“It was just a pathetic job of cleaning up.”
After the venting, Crafton simply shrugged it all off and kept his eyes forward to the remaining four races of the 2023 season, focusing on claiming his fourth title of his career.
“We’ll go on and do it again next year.”