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Oldster Crafton Wins Truck Title

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, November 16 2019
Matt Crafton hoists his championship trophy. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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Matt Crafton, a 43-year-old veteran of 19 full seasons in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, took home his third championship with a second-place finish in Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Crafton claimed the title without winning a race this season, but that was all but irrelevant as Crafton moved within one championship of series leader and NASCAR Hall of Fame Ron Hornaday Jr.

“I guess I finally got out of the wheelchair and got up one the wheel and got it done,” said Crafton, who crossed the finish line 1.569 seconds behind race winner Austin Hill but a comfortable 9.201 seconds ahead of Ross Chastain, who finished fourth in the race and second among the Championship 4 drivers.

“One step closer to what Hornaday’s done, and they called us the underdog.”

Crafton exhibited a mixture of elation and defiance as he celebrated in Victory Lane. Almost an afterthought among pundits entering the race, Crafton schooled his younger Championship 4 competitors with a No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford that improved throughout the race.

That others discounted his chances clearly was a motivating factor for Crafton.

“There was nothing sweeter, to be honest,” Crafton said. “It was that little jab in the side—and I don’t know if I needed that, but it just ticked me off. And I just said, ‘I’m going to prove you really, really wrong tonight.’

“I knew I was going to do whatever I had to do for every one of these guys, for (team owners) Duke and Rhonda (Thorson) and everyone who worked hard, but I said it was that little bit extra poke.”

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, November 16 2019
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