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.

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.