Matt Crafton is ready to close down a nine-races-in-eight-weeks stretch by chasing the checkered flag at one of his favorite tracks: Kentucky Speedway. Crafton scored his eighth consecutive top-ten finish at Chicagoland Speedway last Friday, and he has been strong at Kentucky in the past. Crafton and his Bud Haefele-led team have arguably had the best truck at Kentucky in each of the past two races but circumstance has prevented him from making the hard left turn into victory lane after the finish.
What’s the biggest challenge to racing at Kentucky?
“It’s got to be getting over the bumps. Kentucky has a lot of character to it. There’s a lot of speed but the banking isn’t as steep as some other tracks so you have to let up off the throttle through the corners. Handling is very important. You need the complete package at Kentucky but making the truck handle over the bumps is a real challenge. Even with the coil binding setups we run now, you still have to work with the shock packages to get it right. I think that’s one of our team’s biggest strengths, our shock program.”
Why is Kentucky one of your favorite tracks?
“I always say Atlanta is my favorite because of the way the tires wear and how you slide around the track. Kentucky is a close second. You can’t hold it wide open there like you can at some of the other tracks like Texas and Charlotte. There isn’t enough banking to run wide open. And then the bumps give the track a lot of character too. To me it puts the driver into the equation more than some of the other tracks.”
Does Kentucky Speedway owe you one after the last couple of years?
“We had a great truck there last year and the pit road rules bit us. We had the entire field a lap down during green flag pit stops and the caution came out. That let everyone back on the lead lap and we dropped back to 14th. The year before we had a great truck too. I don’t think it owes us one, that’s not how we look at it. We look at it knowing we’ve run really good there in the past and if we do everything right we’ll be in position to win again this year.”