HOMESTEAD, Fla – Matt Crafton hasn’t won this season. He didn’t win at all last season either. His winless streak heading into the offseason now stands at 58. Crafton, hasn’t won a NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race since July 19, 2017 at the Eldora Speedway.
Despite that, Crafton is hoisting the 2019 championship trophy.
Crafton, finished runner-up in Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway which was enough to earn him his third career championship, tying him with Jack Sprague for second most all-time. Only Ron Hornaday Jr. (4) has more.
But, this title is unprecedented. Crafton’s last win came on dirt. He has one win in his last 86 tries. Heading into this weekend, he didn’t score a top five finish in his last 13 starts on the year. While he started off with six top five finishes in his No. 88 Ford in his first nine races of the year, Friday night’s runner-up was his first since early June at the Texas Motor Speedway.
In terms of head-to-head between the four Championship 4 drivers, Crafton had only out placed the other three just once (Texas). That changes on Friday as for the second time of 2019, Crafton finished ahead of Ross Chastain (4th), Brett Moffitt (5th) and Stewart Friesen (11th) and earns the title.
Last Friday night, Crafton finished sixth in his No. 88 Ford in the Lucas Oil 150 at the ISM Raceway in Phoenix which proved to be good enough to advance him to his third Championship 4 appearance in four years.
He did so by scoring enough stage points to get by. Crafton, finished third in the first stage and second in Stage 2. That netted him 17 additional points during last Friday’s race.
The driver he was chasing for the fourth and final spot to Homestead was Austin Hill. The Hattori Racing Enterprises driver started on the pole but never led a lap all night. His Truck was handling badly. Hill, finished seventh in Stage 1 and sixth in Stage 2. That awarded him nine points.
Still, Crafton had eight more points scored in terms of stage points than Hill. The final margin between the two in the end?
That proved to be the championship winning moment.