Crafton, who is leading the Camping World Truck Series by 41 points, finished his last race in 11th place at the Smith’s 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was the only race he finished outside the top 10 this season.
Although his streak was broken, an 11th-place finish is not something Crafton wants to dwell on.
“We just came up one short,” Crafton said. “There wasn’t much more to it.”
He will have a chance to rebound Friday in the Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. However, Talladega is a track that has given Crafton trouble in the past. Of his seven starts there, he has finished in the top 10 only twice.
Talladega is notorious for having a lot of wrecks. That is an obstacle that a lot of drivers plan for. Crafton believes “good luck” plays major role in Talladega.
“Talladega is like buying a lottery ticket,” he said. “You have to be at the right place at the right time and be there at the end. A lot of that is out of control of the driver.”
An obstacle he can prepare for is the size of the track itself. At 2.66 miles, Talladega is more than one mile longer around than Las Vegas at 1.5 miles. Crafton knows there is one thing he can count on no matter the size of the track he races on.
“There are 35 other trucks out there that want to beat you,” he said. “That’s one of the challenges that’ll be the same.”
Being the points leader, Crafton faces a double-edged sword. There is a little more incentive for the other drivers this time of year. The season is dwindling down. With only five races remaining, each position has become that more valuable. While he has earned the luxury of being ahead of everyone in the field, he faces a greater amount of pressure every race. Everyone in the field of every race is gunning for him.
“Each and every racetrack right now is huge for me,” he said, “especially in the position I’m in right now. That’s what we want to do each week. Keep the guys that are second and third behind us that have a legitimate chance at catching us.”
This weekend is the final weekend the drivers will not have a race. The home stretch begins at Talladega, five consecutive races. But, that will not change Crafton’s mindset.
“Win the race,” he said. “That’s my mindset each and every week when we go to the racetrack. We just go there to win the race.”