Matt Crafton On NASCAR Truck Series Playoff Bubble Going Into Final Regular-Season Race

By Jerry Jordan, Editor

It was a bad day turned good for Matt Crafton as it looked like he would end up double-digits outside the Top 10 after getting shuffled back early in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway. But that all changed in a split-second when a caution came out for a huge crash with just a few laps to go.

Although NASCAR has the No. 88 of Matt Crafton as a participant in the final caution, he actually made it through with no damage and picked up a ton of spots. Combined with the fact that Stewart Friesen was wiped out in the crash, the shift put Crafton on the playoff bubble. Friesen and Crafton are both fighting for the final playoff spot.

“We made lemonade out of today because we were just off and I didn’t help at all today by being impatient,” Crafton said, after the race. “The truck would handle good through the corners and then I would be too impatient and I would pull out and try to get inside of somebody and no one would go with me. It’s become plate racing. At the end of the day, it’s just all like plate racing because if you don’t have a line that will go with you, you’re just done.”

Crafton would finish the race in 14th, which is significantly better than he was running before the final crash. Now, he goes into next week’s regular-season finale at Richmond Raceway with a slight advantage in the points. With a limit of 10 trucks in the playoffs, Crafton sits with a nine-point cushion over Friesen.

If the ThorSport driver somehow misses the playoffs coming out of the Richmond race, it would be the first time since the playoff format began in the truck series that he would be on the outside looking in. In fact, Crafton hasn’t finished a season lower than ninth in the points since 2006 and he has made the Final Four in the playoffs in 2017, 2019 and 2021. If the trend of every odd year continues, Crafton would be expected to be in contention for a fourth truck series title at Phoenix Raceway.

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