MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) — Matt Crafton grabbed the lead for the first time with 47 laps to go and held on to win the rain-delayed Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday night for his fourth career victory.
It also was his first on the 0.526-mile paper clip, and a study in steady improvement.
"If you don't have the best car or truck there at the beginning of a run, you make changes throughout the race. It's about having a smart crew chief and someone putting their head on their shoulders and not tearing the stuff up," he said, crediting crew chief Carl Joiner for adjustments all race long.
"It's not so much stealing," Crafton said. "It's about beating them at the end when it counts."
Crafton, the defending series champion, passed local favorite Timothy Peters on the inside of the fourth turn to grab the top spot, then survived two two-lap sprints to the finish. The green-white-checkered run extended the race to 256 laps, leaving Crafton jokingly complaining about darkness.
After 24 previous starts at Martinsville, he was envisioning the track's signature trophy, a grandfather clock, in his living room at home, and not wanting to let anything get in the way.
"It's definitely one of those places that you want to win at just because that grandfather clock is such an awesome trophy to have in your house," he said. "Finally we got it. ... It's awesome."
Crafton became the 23rd driver to win in 31 truck races at Martinsville.