CRAFTSMAN TRUCK North Carolina Education Lottery 200

  for this game

Crafton wins NCTS race at Lowe's

May 17, 2008 - 4:56 AM CONCORD, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Matt Crafton's nine-year wait is over.

Crafton notched his first career Craftsman Trucks Series victory in 178 races, winning the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 with an average speed of 111.490 miles per hour on Friday.

On a green-white checkered finish, Crafton - in a Chevrolet Silverado - held off the charge of Chad McCumbee to end the longest drought to start a career in NASCAR Trucks Series history.

"I always remember that a guy named Dan Press told me to flip the mirror up when you are leading the race at the end and look out the front of the windshield," Crafton said. "He said as soon as you start looking backwards that you are already halfway beat. So I never looked back, kept looking out that front windshield and drove my tail off."

Crafton figured one day he would break through to winner's circle.

"I just never gave up and tried to put myself in the right position each and every week," Crafton added. "If you do that you're gonna get a win.

"It had been a black cloud following me for a long time. Finally the black cloud has moved along and maybe we can get a few more this year."

The 31-year-old, who collected $63,500 for the win, had finished a career-best second at Martinsville earlier this season.

McCumbee was second in a Chevy for his best career finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"That was a hard-fought second place, I can tell you that much," McCumbee said.

Brendan Gaughan came in third in an F-150, followed closely by the Fords of Eric Darnell and Rick Crawford. It was Gaughan's first top-five finish of 2008.

Current points leader Ron Hornaday finished 23rd after being wrecked by Todd Bodine with three laps remaining.

Hornaday, who saw his lead in the standings reduced from 61 points to five over Crawford, thought Bodine played dirty down the stretch.

"He just flat tried to kill me," Hornaday said. "You don't spin somebody out on the straightaway. Life is too short to have an idiot like that."

Bodine said he didn't mean to cause Hornaday to wreck.

"I was just trying to help him," Bodine said. "And now I look like a goat."

Pole-sitter Kyle Busch, who sideswiped the wall on lap 104, finished in eighth place.

Related News