Tulare, California native Matt Crafton is one of the most veteran drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with over 270 starts in the series since his debut in 2000. Following a championship run in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour, he was tagged by ThorSport Racing as the driver of the No. 88 Toyota Tundra, marking the beginning of the series’ longest-running relationship between a team and a driver.
Learning to race in go karts, mini sprints, and midgets before following in his father’s footsteps in late models, Crafton came to the upper levels of NASCAR racing with a strong short-track racing background. His father, Danny Crafton, was a longtime late model ace on the West Coast, and when Danny was injured with three races to go in the 1996 season, Matt stepped in as the substitute. After watching Matt’s performance in those three races, Danny decided to hang up his helmet and step out of his familiar No. 46 to allow his son to take over permanently. The younger Crafton brought home the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour championship in 2000, picking up the title on the strength of four wins that season.
It was that title run which put him on the radar for teams in the upper levels of the sport. Crafton got the call to drive for ThorSport Racing in the 2000 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season finale at Auto Club Speedway and finished an impressive ninth. From then, Crafton and ThorSport have become a formidable combination.
In over 270 starts, Crafton has scored two wins (Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2008, Iowa Speedway in 2011) and has finished in the top 10 in points seven times, earning a best season-end rank of second in 2009. Crafton returns to the seat of ThorSport Racing’s No. 88 Menards Toyota Tundra for the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, marking his twelfth full season of NCWTS competition and eleventh with ThorSport Racing.
Crafton resides in Mooresville, North Carolina with new wife Ashley and his dogs Ava and Axle.
Milestones & Records:
-Crafton holds the record for the most consecutive Truck Series starts by an active driver.
-In the Las Vegas Motor Speedway race on October 15, 2011 Crafton officially surpassed Dennis Setzer for second in all-time (active and non-active drivers) consecutive starts in the series with 268. Terry Cook is the current record holder with 296, which Crafton can break in the third race of the 2013 season if he continues to make every race.
-Crafton currently holds the record for the fastest qualifying lap at Martinsville Speedway in a truck. Crafton set the record on October 29, 2011 with a qualifying lap of 19.653 seconds (96.352 m.p.h.)
-On August 6, 2011, Crafton and teammate Johnny Sauter started ThorSport Racing's 354th NCWTS race with at least one entry in the field, eclipsing Roush Fenway Racing's previous record of 353.