News & Media


Crafton holds off Dillon for second career victory

July 18, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service, NASCAR.com

NEWTON, Iowa -- Matt Crafton won Saturday night's Coca-Cola 200 at Iowa Speedway, holding off a determined Austin Dillon in the closing laps for his second career win in the Camping World Truck Series.

Crafton snapped a 79-race winless streak with his victory. His previous win came May 16, 2008, at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Coca-Cola 200

Results
Pos.DriverMake
2.Austin DillonChevrolet
3.David MayhewChevrolet
4.Johnny SauterChevrolet
5.Joey CoulterChevrolet

Crafton started the race 11th and ran inside the top 10 for the entire race. Following a caution on Lap 154, Crafton found himself in the lead on the Lap 161 restart, following a final pit stop. Pole-sitter David Mayhew followed Crafton in second, while the truck of Dillon restarted eighth. Dillon looked to have the strongest truck on the evening, leading 127 laps, but he had to mount a closing charge to try to get past Crafton.

Over the final 12 laps, it was a duel between Crafton and Dillon, with Dillon being credited for leading Lap 188 before Crafton resumed the point, which he held to the end of the race.

"I saw him back there," Crafton said of Dillon, "and I thought 'Oh boy, I'm going to have to work for this one.' I knew he had a fast truck and I knew I was going to have to save mine to race with him at the end.

"This is really a huge momentum builder for the team. The last four weeks anything that could have gone wrong did, and now here we are in the fifth week winning the race. I want to thank the guys for all they have done and for sticking with me when everything was going wrong."

Second-place Dillon seemed to both enjoy and be disappointed in his finish.

"We were fastest all night, but they [Crafton's team] just made the right call in the end. It was good for the points tonight, but we've just been giving the wins away here in the end. It hurts when you do that."

Following Dillon in third place was Mayhew. Johnny Sauter finished fourth, followed by Joey Coulter in fifth.

Sauter leaves Iowa with the point lead, with Dillon now in second, 22 points behind. Cole Whitt is third in points, 26 out of the lead.

Notes-n-Nuggets

• Matt Crafton earned his second career victory, snapping a 79-race winless streak.
• Matt Crafton has finished sixth or better in each of the three Truck Series races at Iowa.
• Matt Crafton led twice for 39 laps, including the final 12. He had led only 17 laps total in the first 10 races of 2011.
• This was Matt Crafton's first top-10 finish in the past five races.
• Austin Dillon (second) led 127 laps and is now second in the points, 22 behind Johnny Sauter.
• David Mayhew (third) tied his career-best finish, set in his most recent start at Texas.
• Johnny Sauter (fourth) earned his fourth top-five finish of 2011, but it was his first since running second four races ago.
• Joey Coulter (fifth) has top-10 finishes in the past four races and has finished in the top five in three of those four.
• James Buescher (seventh) has finished in the top 10 in the past seven races, and has nine top-10s in his 10 starts this season.

Crafton came to Iowa eighth in points, but moved up to fifth. He's now just 44 points behind Sauter.