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MailTribune.com
  • MOTORSPORTS

    Crafton wins NASCAR Trucks Series crown

  • HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Matt Crafton waited a week to start his championship party.
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  • HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Matt Crafton waited a week to start his championship party.
    It ended up being a subdued celebration.
    Crafton won the NASCAR Truck Series title even before the green flag dropped Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but lost the owners' championship to Kyle Busch on a tiebreaker.
    "It's kind of aggravating because we wanted the owners' championship as well, but it happens," Crafton said.
    With a nearly insurmountable 46-point lead over Ty Dillon, all Crafton needed to do was start the 200-mile finale to secure his first series championship in 13 seasons.
    So when his engine fired and he took the track, it became official.
    All that was left was the owner's title, which Crafton badly wanted to secure for longtime boss Duke Thorson. But Crafton was involved in a late wreck, damaging the front end of his No. 88 Toyota and forcing the team to sweat out the final few laps.
    In the end, Busch won the race — his fifth of the season while driving a partial schedule — and the owner's championship. The Sprint Cup regular's No. 51 car won the tiebreaker because it had more wins than Crafton this season.
    "It means a lot," Busch said. "Man, this is so much fun to come out and race, for one, to win races, two, and to contend for owner's championships. It's big for us. ... I can't say enough about this team."
    Ryan Blaney finished second, followed by Jeb Burton, Brendan Gaughan and Ron Hornaday Jr.
    Crafton crossed the finish line 21st, one spot short of a clean sweep.
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