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Crafton attempts to win back-to-back at Kansas

May 08, 2014, Kenny Bruce,

There has not been a back-to-back Truck Series winner at Kansas in 13 races there

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – In 13 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Kansas Speedway, there has not been a back-to-back winner. In fact, there has not been a repeat winner at all.

Thirteen races, and Matt Crafton has run them all. Thirteen different winners and Crafton, as the defending champion of Friday night's SFP 250, is the most recent.

"So I've got the monkey on my back this weekend to be able to try to do it and be a two-time winner here," Crafton said Thursday prior to opening practice for the series.

The defending series champion is also the series' most recent winner of 2014, having scored a nightcap win at Martinsville in a race that was part of a Sprint Cup/Truck Series twin bill thanks to weather issues.

Crafton, 13th in the season-opener at Daytona, enters Friday's race third in points. Timothy Peters and Crafton's ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter are 1-2.

Going off his Martinsville victory, and last year's championship run, Crafton expects similar results in the coming weeks as the series' schedule begins to pick up steam.

"Just going to Martinsville and at the end of last year - I would say the last five or six races, I'm not saying we put it in cruise control, but we didn't get to race quite as hard as we wanted to," he said. "I knew we had a lot of speed in our trucks, but I had to race really, really smart and couldn't put myself in any bad positions.

"Everybody kept giving us a bad time at the end of last year – ‘you guys are just going to top-10 us to death.' We were just trying to win the championship. Then we went into this season with guns loaded and it just kind of felt good to prove a point and know that we can win races when we need to."

Friday's race will be the first under the lights for the series here, and most drivers have said they are unsure what to expect.

"I have no idea from day to night," said Crafton. "I don't know what the track is going to do. I'm sure it will get more grip. Is it going to get free or is it going to tighten up? We don't know. … Last year during the day it got very slippery and the groove started moving around so hopefully the groove will widen out tomorrow night as well and we can get a second and third groove going."


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