Crafton survives wild Martinsville finish
October 28, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
RELATED: Camping World Truck Series standings
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- It was "one to get through," he said, and fortunately for Matt Crafton, he did.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader couldn't avoid the late-race mayhem that unfolded in Saturday's Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway, but neither did Ty Dillon, Crafton's closest rival entering the series' 19th stop.
"It's just like Daytona and Talladega," the ThorSport Racing driver said after finishing 17th in the 36-truck field. "We lost minimal points I guess to the 31 (James Buescher). … It wasn't the end of the world.
"We came here and did everything we had to do. We came here and put ourselves in position to win the race at the end."
Buescher, who finished 10th in his Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet, moved ahead of Dillon and into second in the points battle with three races remaining. He trails Crafton by 51 points.
Crafton, winless in 24 career starts on the tight, flat Martinsville track, failed to lead, but was running fourth with approximately 12 laps remaining when he was caught up in an incident between second-place Kevin Harvick and Dillon.
"I don't know what happened with the 3 (Dillon) and the 14 (Harvick)," Crafton said after watching post-race action unfold on the video screen atop the Martinsville scoreboard. "All of a sudden they turned each other sideways and I tried to hit my brakes and got clobbered from behind.
"It's a shame."
Crafton had fashioned a string of 16 consecutive top-10 finishes before an 11th-place result at Las Vegas. He rebounded with a ninth-place effort last weekend at Talladega, maintaining his comfortable points advantage.
Such late-race incidents aren't unexpected, but Crafton said he was surprised by the incident.
"I didn't expect (Dillon) to come across the 14, but he's trying everything he can to try not to lose spots," he said. "I'm sure he knew it was the 14 and then there was me and that he was going to get freight-trained, so he was just trying everything he could.
"I don't blame him. It sucks that it collected us."