Of the four drivers who came into Homestead-Miami Speedway battling for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship — Matt Crafton seemed like the least likely to walk away with the hardware.
Hell, Crafton came into the race as the only one of the four to not win a race on the year.
But that’s why we run the races.
Crafton had possibly his best race of the 2019 season, and it came on the perfect night as he finished second in the race — two spots ahead of fellow Championship 4 contender Ross Chastain — to secure his third-career Truck Series championship.
“I guess I finally got out of the wheel chair, got up on the wheel and got it done,” Crafton said following the race.
Crafton, in winning the title, becomes the second NASCAR National Series Champion to win their respective title without winning a race (Austin Dillon also did it in the Xfinity Series in 2013). However, going into the race, Crafton said he would sleep just fine at night if he won the title without a race win.
By taking Championship No. 3, Crafton now trails just Ron Hornaday — who has four Truck Series championships — in the record books.
“I feel amazing,” said an elated Crafton. “One step closer to what [Ron] Hornaday has done. And they call us the underdog. I heard what [Todd] Bodine and everybody saying I was the underdog and we didn’t have it. I promise we worked harder than everybody.”
While Crafton captured another championship with a flawless race, Chastain failed to win the title in finishing fourth, Brett Moffitt — who was defending his 2018 title — came home in fifth and Stewart Friesen finished 11th.
While these four were battling for a championship, Austin Hill was busy dominating the race.
The driver of the No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises truck, who was devastatingly eliminated from the Playoffs in the Round of 6, won both Stages 1 and 2 and won the race as well.
This is Hill’s fourth victory of the 2019 season.
Additionally, there was a third trophy awarded on Friday night — the Truck Series Owner’s Championship. Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 truck, which was driven by Christian Eckes in this race, took home that honor with a third-place finish.
Post-Race Stat Pack:
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.