Matt Crafton

47-Year-Old Driver  
ThorSport Racing
2024 Fantasy Outlook
He's no longer the championship contender that he was 2019 and prior, but Crafton still brings consistency and excellence to the race track each week. The 23-season veteran nabbed two Top-5 and nine Top-10 finishes last season and would rank ninth-place in the driver points after Phoenix. Crafton will return to the No. 88 team and crew chief, Jeriod Prince. He hasn't won a race in the last three campaigns, and we suspect that won't change in 2024. However, Crafton should flirt with double digit Top 10's once again and race to another Top 10 points performance. With over 500 starts, 15 victories and three championships in this division of NASCAR, he's becoming near-legendary status. Read Past Outlooks
Thilling Win in Heat Race
Craftsman Truck Series
April 8, 2023
Crafton won heat race 4 for the Weather Guard Truck Race on Dirt NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Dirt Saturday afternoon.
ANALYSIS
The fourth heat race would have the best competition and by far the best finish. Crafton would lead 9 laps and wage a door-to-door battle with Rajah Caruth in the closing laps. The two would take the checkered flag side-by-side with Crafton winning by a bumper. The ThorSport Racing veteran will contend for the win Saturday night on the Bristol dirt.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Matt Crafton See More
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2023
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2014
2008
The longest tenured driver (22 seasons) in the Craftsman Truck Series returns for another campaign in the No. 88 Ford in 2023. Crafton is a three-time series champion and owns over 500-career starts in this division of NASCAR. He's not much of a threat to win anymore (just 1 victory in the past five seasons) but Crafton is still a model of consistency behind the wheel. He's averaged 13 Top 10's per season over the past three years and generally finishes between fifth- and ninth-place in the driver points. Soon to be 47-years-old, Father Time has taken a small toll on his skills, but Crafton is still a pretty dependable performer in this rough-and-tumble racing series.
The 21-season veteran returns for another campaign in 2022. The three-time series champion will set out in pursuit of a fourth title in the upcoming season. Crafton had a reasonably good 2021 season with 12 Top-10 finishes, but no victories. It all added up to a fourth-place finish in the championship points. Crafton will be paired with a new crew chief as Junior Joiner is moving on from racing to pursue family. The new chief has not been named as of this writing, but could be a spark for this team and driver. Gone are the days of multi-win seasons for Crafton, but he still has it in him to grab a win or two and post enough Top-10 finishes to be relevant in the championship chase.
Crafton is the longest tenured driver in this division of NASCAR. The three-time champion posted a one-win, 15 Top-10 effort in 2020. Those stats are pretty much in line with Crafton's last four seasons in the Camping World Truck Series, and a good base line of what to expect going forward. The only major shakeup this season is ThorSport's switch from Ford to Toyota trucks. That's one variable to keep in mind. Crafton turns 45-years-old in the upcoming season, and that is a bit of a concern as we move forward. The truck series continues to grow younger each year and Crafton's skills will begin to diminish at some point. We won't likely see much of a drop off this season, but it is something to be aware of in 2022 and beyond.
Crafton turned in his best performance of last season at Homestead and it was good enough for the veteran driver to capture his third-career truck series championship. For the most part, the 2019 campaign was a low-profile affair for Crafton. He logged seven Top-5 and 18 Top-10 finishes, and wasn't really a major threat to win any events. He had a nine-season low of just 44 laps led for the entire season. The 43-year-old enters his 20th season at ThorSport Racing. He's as dependable as a clock at this point in his career. Crafton is no longer the threat to win races like he did three or four seasons ago, but he can pile up the Top 10's. We should see more of the same in the upcoming season.
The 18-season veteran has become the truck series' elder statesman. At 42-years-old Crafton is one of the oldest driver's in the series. Unfortunately, we've begun to see some performance and skill deterioration in the two-time champion. Crafton labored through his toughest season since 2012 last year. He went winless for the first time in six years, and his Top-10 total of 13 was his lowest since 2011. Crafton's 69 laps led were also his lowest total in a number of years, and illustrates how tough the 2018 season was for the No. 88 team. We expect Crafton to be back with this race team in 2019, but don't expect in major rebounds in performance. It seems that some of the younger talents in this racing series have caught and passed Crafton in the last two years.
ThorSport makes the shift from long-time Toyota team to Ford in 2018. That's a wrinkle to keep in mind going into the season, but in the big picture Crafton and this team bring the experience and skill to mount a serious threat for the championship. The veteran driver is a 14-time winner in this division of NASCAR and a two-time champion. Crafton's one-win and 16 Top-10 campaign of last season earned him a fourth-place finish in the standings. He should hold the line on those numbers and possibly even improve with the shakeup of talent and new, younger faces entering this racing series. Crafton is just two seasons removed from a six-win campaign and title. It's that homerun potential he brings to the plate in the upcoming season.
The two-time series champion lost out in a winner-take-all finale with former teammate, Johnny Sauter, at Homestead last season. Even though Crafton didn't win the title, he still had a tremendous season and one that is in line with his recent level of performance. The veteran Toyota driver claimed two wins early last season, but cooled off as the season progressed. Crafton still forged a 16 Top-10 campaign and that was good enough to advance into the final race of the Chase. He's been a Top-3 finisher in the driver standings for the last four consecutive seasons, and we don't see that changing in 2017. In fact, if there is any driver best-equipped and positioned to overtake Sauter in the quest for the championship, it's Crafton.
The two-time series champion came up short in his quest to win three titles in a row last year. Crafton would posts career-highs in wins with six and Top-5 finishes with 13, but still not claim the crown. That in no way tarnishes what the ThorSport Racing star has accomplished the last three years. He’s averaged three victories and 18 Top-10 finishes over that span and been the top driver in the Camping World Truck Series. We don’t see that changing in 2016. In fact, with this division of NASCAR getting younger, it likely elevates Crafton more than ever. His 361 starts of experience, and the strong No. 88 team make him king of the mountain this season, and top contender to win the championship.
Much like his teammate Johnny Sauter, Crafton too endured some consistency issues in 2012. The No. 88 Toyota team is usually a Top-10 go-getter each season, and struggles with the victory side of the equation. That was not the case last year. Crafton was largely invisible in claiming 14 Top-10 finishes, which is far short of the 18-20 we’re used to seeing from this driver and team. While Crafton finished a respectable sixth in the final championship standings, his average finish rose to 9.8 which is well above what we’re used to seeing. The ThorSport Racing star’s team returns intact from last season, with Carl Joiner still calling the shots from atop the pit box. We expect to see a return to consistency for Crafton in 2013.
More Fantasy News
Driving in Bristol Cup race
Craftsman Truck Series
April 8, 2023
Crafton will pilot the No. 51 Ford for Rick Ware Racing in Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race, Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports reports.
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Fast Truck Series Practice
Gander Outdoors Truck
September 9, 2022
Crafton was fastest in Happy Hour practice for the Kansas Lottery 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway Friday afternoon. He turned a fast lap of 31.171-seconds.
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Race comes to early end
Gander Outdoors Truck
June 11, 2022
Crafton was forced to pit with an issue to his truck during Saturday's Door Dash 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck series event at Sonoma Raceway, Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports reports.
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Third at Las Vegas
Gander Outdoors Truck
September 24, 2021
Crafton finished third in the Victoria's Voice Foundation 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday night.
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Runner-up Finish at Gateway
Gander Outdoors Truck
August 21, 2021
Crafton finished second in the Toyota 200 presented by CK Power NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway Friday night.
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