Although Matt Crafton faded late in Saturday night’s Smith’s 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and finished outside the top 10 for the first time this season, the ThorSport Racing standout was able to maintain his 41-point lead in the drivers’ standings over James Buescher. Ty Dillon sits third, 53 points behind Crafton.
With five races remaining on the schedule, one might think that Crafton and his team would start counting points each week and calculating how to retain his advantage heading down the homestretch. That is not the case with the California native.
“I don’t care about the points, I just want to go out there and win races,” Crafton said. “If we do that – and keep putting on these great shows for the fans while we’re at it – the points will be there at Homestead at the end of the season. Points are points and we’ll figure that out when we get to Homestead (season finale).”
Buescher entered the Las Vegas race having won twice since August, vaulting him to second in the standings. He couldn’t capitalize on Crafton’s 11th-place finish as he scored the same number of points as Crafton and retained his runner-up ranking.
Dillon gained six points in the race and remains in the hunt to join his older brother Austin Dillon (2011) as a series champion.
Crafton’s quest for the most consecutive top-10 finishes to begin a season ended three short of the 1996 record of 19 held by four-time NCWTS champion Ron Hornaday, Jr. Crafton has completed all 2,652 laps run in 2013.