Matt Crafton can finally get some rest heading in to this Friday’s Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Crafton will only need to take the green flag in the race to claim his first NASCAR national series title.
It has been a long time coming for the Tulare, Calif. native as he will set a new record as the longest-tenured driver in the history of the series to claim his first title is his 316th career start. Crafton also has a chance to set a new record in the series if he finishes on the lead lap at HMS. Crafton would become the first driver in the 19-year history of the series to complete every lap of competition during the season.
While Crafton will be busy rewriting the record book for his accomplishments, there have also been several other records broken this season.
Besides the obvious mark of the series making its first start in history on dirt at Eldora in July, the series also experienced several other “firsts” in 2013.
This season a record three Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders won races with Ryan Blaney, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Jeb Burton all capturing a checkered flag.
The series has featured a talented group of young drivers and for the first time ever two drivers under the age of 18 took home wins as Chase Elliott won at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and Erik Jones scored a victory at Phoenix International Raceway in the fall. At 17 years five months eight days Jones is the youngest to win in NASCAR national series competition, eclipsing Elliott’s mark.
Another new record can be clinched at Homestead if Crafton can bring his No. 88 Toyota team home in front of Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 54 Tundra. Thorsport Racing would become the first team to lead the point standings the entire season. Teammate Johnny Sauter won the first two races of the season to lead the standings earlier this year.