Toyota Eldora Quotes July 19,2017

Toyota Post-Race Recap

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)

Eldora Speedway

Race 11 of 23 – 75 miles, 150 laps

July 19, 2017




2nd, Stewart Friesen*

3rd, Chase Briscoe*


5th, John Hunter Nemechek*








*non-Toyota driver 




1st, Johnny Sauter*                        478 points

2nd, CHRISTOPHER BELL               471 points

4th, MATT CRAFTON                      427 points

5th, GRANT ENFINGER                  356 points

7th, BEN RHODES                             337 points

8th, RYAN TRUEX                             336 points

9th, NOAH GRAGSON                    329 points

13th, CODY COUGHLIN                 236 points

*non-Toyota driver

**unofficial point standings


  • Tundra driver Matt Crafton captured his first win of 2017 on Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ (NCWTS) only race on dirt.
  • Crafton won the first stage of Wednesday’s race, his second this season, and went on to lead 24 total laps.
  • With the top-10 finish, Crafton is one NCWTS top-10 finish away from tying the NCWTS series record (set by Ron Hornaday Jr. with 234 top-10 results).
  • Grant Enfinger (fourth), Noah Gragson (seventh) and Christopher Bell (ninth) also finished in the top 10 for Toyota.



MATT CRAFTON, No. 88 Ideal Door / Menards Toyota Tundra, Thorsport Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

A lot of emotion for this victory, where does this win stack up for you?

“Our first dirt win. A lot of fun. In the second part of the race we downright just stunk. It was my fault. We overtightened it. On the first we were pretty good and I thought we were a little bit too free. We tightened it up and then we just went back to exactly where we started the race and Rico (Abreu) and them guys drove by me up top and I’m like ‘Crafton, you got to put this thing on the fence down there’. I knew I was getting beat down there and then I found something in the middle over here in 1 and 2. Finally at the end I’m like ‘well, we ought to tear the right side off this thing or take it to victory lane’.”

You’ve done more dirt racing this past year, how much did that help you tonight?

“It helped a lot. Just learning what the track does and seeing what spots on the race track – in the years past I didn’t know what I was looking at to be totally honest. Just kept studying and kept studying. Had a lot of great people here. Nick Coffman came here and helped me during the test. They were telling me ‘go down here in the dirt and spin the tires’ and I’m like why? But I started doing it and this thing was just a rocket ship – this Menards Toyota Tundra.”


Talk about your race tonight.

“This definitely wasn’t the one that I thought was going to put us in the playoffs without a doubt. I was looking to come in here and have a top five – a good solid top-five run. Yesterday was just good, it was really good, so we kept tuning on it and first run it was really good. Second run we tightened it up too much and Junior (Joiner, crew chief) was mad and throwing one of the Juniors, so we came in and made some adjustments and I made some adjustments out there on the race track. Kept searching and finally found something at the end.”

Talk us through your race this evening.

“Started off the beginning of the race – we were pretty good. Then I started searching for different spots on the race track when we won the first segment and I thought we were just a little bit too free at that point and had Junior (Joiner, crew chief) and then the second segment we were way way too tight and we fell back quite a ways. Junior was pissed off at me because I had him overtighten the truck. I guess I had to make up there for it at the end. We basically went right back exactly where we started the race and I just learned how to drive it. Rico (Abreu) and Christopher (Bell) went by me up top and I just had to save my stuff and just had to have something to race there at the end. I knew I just couldn’t put it up top like Rico – just kept pounding the fence. He was putting on a heck of a show without a doubt. I just kept saying I can’t do that yet. I got to have something here at the end to race these guys and when it was – the pay window opened, I finally put it up there and took advantage of it.”

What does this mean to you considering you don’t have much experience on dirt?

“It’s huge. Since I was a kid I’ve always heard about Eldora and then watching all these guys the last few years put this thing on the fence and I ran the bottom and I would run in the top five and then I would fade at the end because the bottom would go away. I just came committed that I’m going to run the top and we’re going to give up our bottom of the race track and not going to be quite as good down there, but I’m going to run the top when it matters. That’s what we did tonight. It was huge. It definitely ranks up there amongst one of the greatest wins I’ve had so far just because it’s something so out of the ordinary.”

Describe the journey of learning dirt as you built your own dirt car with your dad and does this feel like the ultimate reward for all that effort?

“Yeah, the last five years now I’ve been driving other people’s dirt modifieds and you never know what you’re going to get in. I wanted to control my own fate in it and be able to work on it and understand it and learn it a little bit better and go to the races that I wanted to go to. I bought a car and it needed a lot of work so me and my dad tore it completely apart. We went down and ran Florida. It was seven nights down in Florida. Last night we were there we finished second and then we got where we kind of sucked for a little while and then we made it a little bit better. The last race we were at we were a top five car and that’s big going to these local shows and these guys really really good at this stuff. I know I kept getting better and understanding it. And just the little bit I did run it in the past, I would gain 10 percent on it. I just made a big commitment this year. I’m going to buy it and I’m going to figure this stuff out and be able to have a shot at winning this golden trophy right here in front of me.”

Is there ever any point where you get on a winless streak and you wonder if a win is going to come again?

“Without a doubt. You always go ‘dang, is it going to come again. What am I doing wrong? What are we doing wrong? What do I have to change?’ I knew we would because there was spots this season where we had speed and then there was spots this season where we have been really bad as well. Me and Junior just keep working really really hard week in and week out and every one of these guys just keep digging really hard trying to make these trucks better on the half mile to the mile-and-a-halfs. I mean our superspeedway program has been one of our weaker programs in the past and we had a shot to win at Daytona this year until the middle of the back straightaway.”

JUNIOR JOINER, crew chief, No. 88 Ideal Door / Menards Toyota Tundra, Thorsport Racing

Talk about what this win means to you and the team.

“He (Crafton) even talks like a dirt racer now. How 'bout that. The pay window, huh? I’m not sure that’s true. Gosh. I

can’t even thank everybody enough at Thorsport – Duke and Rhonda Thorson, everybody that works so hard. I felt like

we put a lot of effort into this deal. We helped Goodyear kind of come up with this tire. They selected us to come do the tire test and we had a really good three hours of start today and then it was just atrocious after that. I mean we struggled so bad after lunch and we came home – come up with some new ideas. Had some dirt – or had a little help from a few dirt friends which I never agreed with the whole time. I just kept telling them this is still a truck. It’s not a dirt car. We’re going to Martinsville with dirt. But a lot of the changes we made really helped us and man he just did a heck of a job. I was mad at the end of that second stage. I was pissed. But that’s pretty normal for me. That’s what makes our relationship special.

What does it mean to you to win here?

“I’m not even sure it’s sunk in yet. I can’t even believe it. It means a lot. It means a lot to win any time you win in the truck series. It’s so tough to win on any given weekend. To just shut up all the critics per say and put us back in victory lane after a year, it means a lot to this team because we need to get on a roll right now and that’s what I told the guys before the race started. We’re going to turn this year around right now today and low and behold he did. I think that we’re going to head on an upward climb now and we’ll keep digging like we always do.”

GRANT ENFINGER, No. 98 Champion Power Equipment / Curb Records Toyota Tundra, Thorsport Racing

Finishing Position: 4th

Talk about your first race at Eldora.

“It was definitely a great night for us. We had a really great Champion Power Equipment Tundra the whole two days that we were here. It just was a matter of me getting adjusted to it. I learned a lot the whole night. I feel like we were legitimately a contending truck there at the end. I’m really happy our teammate was able to get the win. I feel like we’re knocking on the door now. Definitely a solid run for us and can’t thank Champion Power Equipment and everybody at Thorsport Racing for this opportunity. I always knew it’d be fun to run this race, but never knew it’d be that much fun.”


CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 4 Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports

Finishing Position: 9th

Talk about salvaging a ninth-place finish after that incident early on.

“My crew is really really good on pit road. They were able to get it fixed back up. I’m just really bummed for them because they gave me a really really fast truck and I made a mistake there early on and it cost us the race.”

What happened out there tonight?

“First off, I got to say I ruined it for my guys man. They gave me a great Tundra. I really felt like we had the truck to win there, but unfortunately I made a mistake early on that cost us. My guys worked really hard to get us going again and then we got going really good and the truck seemed like it was driving good enough – we had a lot of speed, just miscalculated there on the spin. The lap before I had a lot of grip up in the cushion and it held me really good, so I tried to make speed up there and was just a little bit too low in the slick and spun out. The flat tire really killed us.”

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2017, Issue 7, Posted 5:37 PM, 07.20.2017