Crafton wins at Martinsville to tighten points race
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) Matt Crafton climbed back into the championship hunt by winning the Truck Series race Saturday at Martinsville Speedway.
The two-time defending series champion won for the fifth time this season to chip into the cushion of points-leader Erik Jones. With three races remaining, Jones leads Tyler Reddick by three points and Crafton by 10.
''This feels very, very good,'' Crafton said. ''It's been a trying last two months for us. But we finally got this thing back in victory lane.''
Crafton had a poor race last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway to fall 23 points behind Jones. But Jones was involved in a late accident Saturday and finished 10th to allow Reddick and Crafton to tighten the standings.
Reddick finished fifth.
''We were in really good position at the end ... and I actually hit the curb and cost us a couple more spots,'' Reddick said. ''It was as clean as Martinsville could get. It's a shame we got fifth, really, because I thought we could have finished third or second.''
John Hunter Nemechek was second, followed by Cameron Hayley, Cole Custer and Reddick.
Timothy Peters was sixth, while Brandon Jones, Caleb Holman, Johnny Sauter and Jones rounded out the top 10.
The win was the second career victory at Martinsville for Crafton, and 10th of his career. He credited his ThorSport Racing crew for giving him a strong enough Toyota to win Saturday.
''We weren't very good on the short runs,'' Crafton said. ''But I never give up on these guys and they kept fine-tuning it, fine-tuning it.''