Matt Crafton aims to hold serve in Camping World Trucks’ elimination race at Kansas

Matt Crafton stands on the qualifying grid at World Wide Technology Raceway
Sean Gardner
Getty Images

The first two races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs settled two issues – both Grant Enfinger and Chandler Smith will advance to the Round of 8, thanks to their respective victories at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park and Richmond Raceway.

The final six positions, however, are very much up in the air entering Friday night’s elimination race, the Kansas Lottery 200 at Kansas Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

RELATED: Kansas weekend schedule | Truck Series standings

Eighth-place Matt Crafton, a three-time series champion, leads ninth-place Carson Hocevar by three points and 10th-place Christian Eckes by six. Those three drivers in particular will be battling on Friday for the final spot in the Round of 8.

Based on experience, Crafton should have an edge. The 46-year-old driver has raced in all 24 Truck Series events at the track, dating to 2001, and has fashioned three victories there, the most recent in 2020.

But Crafton hasn’t shown his customary speed during a winless 2022 campaign. That leaves room for Hocevar and Eckes to compete for the final Playoff berth.

“I’m excited to go back to a mile-and-a-half (track), which seems to be more of our bread and butter,” said Hocevar, who finished 15th at Kansas in May.