NASCAR: Matt Crafton, Cole Custer top Truck Practice 2 and 3 at Loudon


After Erik Jones bumped him off the top of the time sheets in the first Camping World Truck Series practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, defending series champion Matt Crafton (pictured) went to P1 late in the second practice and stayed there.

Crafton was fastest in Practice 2 with a lap of 132.347 mph in his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota Tundra – beating the best from Cameron Hayley (131.433 mph), Gray Gaulding (131.180 mph), Joey Coulter (131.044 mph), and Timothy Peters (130.815). Jones was ninth-fastest (130.385 mph).

With Saturday’s UNOH 175 on the horizon, Crafton leads ThorSport teammate Johnny Sauter by a slim margin of five points in this year’s standings. Crafton has never won at New Hampshire, but said this week he was looking forward to taking it on again.

“It’s been two years since the Trucks have raced there, but I’ve had some good runs there in the past; we even got our first pole there in 2005,” Crafton said. “To me the biggest challenge at Loudon is the track itself. It’s tough to run side-by-side because there is really only one preferred groove.

“The challenge is to stay patient and not get caught up in a wreck trying to make something happen.”

Final Truck Series practice took place a mere half-hour after Practice 2 ended, and it was led by 16-year-old Cole Custer and his lap of 133.226 mph.

Following him was Ryan Blaney (-16 points behind Crafton in the championship) in second at 133.007 mph, with Jones in third (132.924 mph), Darrell Wallace Jr. in fourth, and Tyler Reddick in fifth. Crafton was ninth in the final session.

Qualifying takes place tomorrow morning at shortly after 10 a.m. ET, with the aforementioned UNOH 175 going down later in the afternoon around 1 p.m. ET.