One more start means NASCAR Trucks title for Crafton

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The party will have to wait one more weekend, but Matt Crafton is set to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway after finishing fifth in last night’s CWTS race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Crafton needed to leave PIR with a 49-point advantage to officially clinch on Friday, but a fourth-place finish from Ty Dillon (second in the standings) means that Crafton will enter Homestead with a 46-point edge over Dillon.

No matter – all Crafton needs to do to lock up the driver’s title is start the Ford Ecoboost 200 in six days’ time.

Consistency has paid off for the 37-year-old California native, who has been a regular in the Trucks for more than a decade. He won at Kansas in April, but has also logged 19 Top-10 finishes in 21 races this season.

The only times he hasn’t finished in the Top-10 was an 11th-place run at Las Vegas in September and a 17th-place run at Martinsville last month.

“Just being able to sleep, that’s the coolest thing,” Crafton said in a statement. “I’m not going to lie – for the last month-and-a-half, it’s been tough.”

But Crafton and his No. 88 ThorSport Racing team will still have some business to take care of in South Florida. The No. 88 team leads in the CWTS owner’s championship, but Erik Jones’ victory in the Lucas Oil 150 at PIR kept the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports entry in contention for that prize.

However, Crafton and the No. 88 have a 23-point lead in the owner’s championship and can win it at Homestead with a finish of 18th or better.

“We have one more battle on our hands and I’m confident, with what my team’s accomplished already this season, we’ll be equal to the challenge at Homestead,” Crafton said about the owners’ race.

ThorSport has already won this year’s ARCA drivers’ and owners’ championships with Frank Kimmel in the cockpit.