Matt Crafton had to stretch his final fuel load across 61 laps, but was able to pick up the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win tonight at Texas Motor Speedway.
The defending Truck Series champion led 118 laps, the most he’s ever led in a single race (previous-best: 68 at Mansfield, 2007). But with less than 15 laps to go, his closest pursuers started to head into the pits for a final splash of fuel while Crafton was told to slow down by his ThorSport Racing crew.
Fortunately for Crafton, he had just enough in his tank to make it to the checkered flag. His No. 88 Toyota Tundra finally ran dry during his victory burnouts.
With the late green-flag stops came a reshuffled Top 5 behind Crafton. Pole sitter Justin Lofton wound up finishing second, while former Sprint Cup driver Joe Nemechek earned a third-place result.
Ryan Blaney (led 45 laps) pitted for the final time with nine laps remaining, but charged back up to fourth ahead of fifth-place John Wes Townley.
Crafton also took over the championship lead after Timothy Peters, the leader going into Texas, crashed out early after he ran over the oil left behind by teammate German Quiroga when his engine failed.
With the next race coming up on June 14 at Gateway Motorsports Park outside St. Louis, Crafton is ahead of Johnny Sauter (finished seventh).
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.