MIAMI – Matt Crafton made history Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as the defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion took home another Series title.
Crafton is the thirteenth different driver to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship, and fourth to win multiple series titles. Although the idea of Crafton becoming the first back-to-back series champion since the NASCAR Truck Series inception in 1995 has been circulating for several weeks throughout the NCWTS garages, Crafton says the thought was staying out of his mind.
“It’s definitely an awesome feeling to say you’re back-to-back champion,” Crafton said. “I definitely didn’t want to talk about it at all the last few weeks. Without a doubt I wanted to go out there and do my job and try to win more races and lead more laps and that’s what we did.”
With Crafton’s ninth place Ford EcoBoost 200 finish, he secures the top spot over Brad Keselowski Racing driver Ryan Blaney by a 21-point margin. The 2014 NCWTS season marked Crafton’s 15th year competing in the truck Series, and he leads the series in consecutive starts with 337.
Kyle Busch Motorsports took home the NCWTS Owner’s Championship Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with his second-consecutive and third all-time NCWTS owner championship. Kyle Busch Motorsports is the second team in NCWTS history to win back-to-back championships. The team’s third title ties Hendrick Motorsports and Kevin Harvick Inc. for most all-time.
Although it was Crafton to claim the truck series championship, Darrell Wallace Jr. won the 19th Annual Ford EcoBoost 200, his fifth victory in 44 NCWTS races. Four of those victories came in 2014, and Homestead-Miami Speedway is the first 1.5-mile victory for the 21-year-old.
“I can’t thank my guys enough for continuing to come up each and every race and never give up and have that desire to win,” Wallace said. “I told them before the race even started, we want it more than anybody else. We don’t have a shot at the title, but we want this race more than anybody else. Let’s show that. And I had to work for it there. I had to battle off Kyle (Larson) and Kyle (Busch), so a lot of things knocked off tonight in the mile-and-a-half win. We beat the boss finally.”
The win was bittersweet for Wallace, as the No. 54 ToyotaCare team of learned earlier that morning that an engineer’s mother had passed.
“Like you said, this is probably the sweetest (win),” Wallace said. “Eddie, our engineer, lost his mother earlier and I wanted to put her name, Alejandra, on the top of our door, and she was our guardian angel, so that’s what got us to Victory Lane.”
New for 2014 are the trophies awarded to the winners of the Ford EcoBoost 200, Ford EcoBoost 300 and Ford EcoBoost 400. Each was designed to replicate the steering wheel of Henry Ford’s first race car – the 1901 Sweepstakes racer – which is on display at Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. Mr. Ford drove Sweepstakes to an upset victory in his one and only race, on October 10, 1901, a win that helped attract the investors who would help him start Ford Motor Company in June 1903.
“I saw that trophy coming down the stage and said that was a cool one, it’s a unique one,” Wallace said. “I have all the unique ones so why not add that one to the shelf.”
Ford Championship Weekend continues with the Ford EcoBoost 300 on Saturday, November 15, 2014 on ESPN2 beginning at 4:30 p.m.
By: Zoe Kafkes, University of Miami