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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Ford EcoBoost 200

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Ford EcoBoost 200

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Ford EcoBoost 200

Matt Crafton
Carl Joiner, Jr.
David Pepper
November 15, 2013


KERRY THARP: We're now going to hear from the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Driver Champion, and that is Matt Crafton, and he drove the No.88 Ideal Door Menard's Toyota for ThorSport Racing, and he's joined up here by his crew chief, Carl joiner Jr. and team general manager Mr.David Pepper.
Congratulations, Matt, on this championship. You're in your 14th year competing in this series. You lead the series; you've got 316 consecutive starts in this series. You're the 13th different champion that this series has seen. Talk about what it means to you to win this championship.
MATT CRAFTON: I mean, it's an honor. To be able to do it for Duke and Rhonda Thorson that have been doing this for 18 years, and to give them the first championship and me driving for them for 13, 14 years‑‑ 13 years, I think, full‑time, and like I said, Menard's and all the people that have been behind me, every one of these guys that work on this truck, it's an honor to be able to give them this championship.
These guys are the ones that work so hard. I'm just the one that gets to celebrate and look like the hero because I got to drive a great truck all year.
KERRY THARP: Crew chief Carl Joiner, just talk about what this means to you, as well.
CARL JOINER JR.: It means everything. That's what we wake up every day to do. That's how we're bred per se. Every guy on the team, every wife, and like I agree with Matt, it's just so great for Duke and Rhonda Thorson and their daughter Alison, actually. They've given everything they've got for this, and I'm just glad we could bring it for them.
KERRY THARP: And David, this race team based out of Ohio has just had a terrific year this year. Just talk about what this championship means.
DAVID PEPPER: Same as the guys: Absolutely everything. Duke and Rhonda have been doing this for 18 years. Us guys up here have been doing this our whole life. It's the culmination of a lifetime achievement award for all of us. It's really big.
KERRY THARP: Congratulations, and we'll take questions, please.

Q. Matt, what was going through your mind when you had that accident towards the end of the race? Were you focused on completing all the laps from the season? Were you worried about the owner's championship at all?
MATT CRAFTON: I was definitely. At the point when we had our last pit stop, I didn't honestly think that we could get back there and win the race, and that's what we came here to do was win the race and lock up the Owner's Championship. When we started the race, we got the Driver's Championship, and we wanted to get to victory lane and get the Owner's Championship.
It's a shame, I knew it was going to be crazy whenever a bunch of people put tires on, no tires, two tires, four tires, and you're rolling across the top, and they just come up right in front of you, and it's like I didn't know what to do. Like I said, I tried to lift at the last second, but at the same time we got hooked. It's sickening, really.

Q. Matt, can you kind of talk about the day? Were you anxious about getting it kind of over with?
MATT CRAFTON: Yeah, just waking up this morning and getting to the racetrack and making your first lap, it was just‑‑ that just took a weight off my shoulders running the first lap in the truck, and the truck was good. I knew we were going to have a shot at winning the race. We know the feel we need during the day here, and I think we hit it pretty darned good.
It wasn't quite what we needed on the long run, but right there at the end of the race it was a bunch of short runs. Like I said, if we would have had some track position, I know we would have had something for them.
It was an awesome day. It's been an awesome year. It's been the greatest year of my life so far. Like I said, to have a baby and win a NASCAR championship, nobody can ever take that away from me.

Q. You probably don't know, but I saw Coulter go down and talk to Duke or somebody before you all went on stage. Did you get a chance to talk to him at all?
MATT CRAFTON: No, I didn't. We didn't talk at all. I mean, I know that Joey wouldn't do anything to harm us. I said I'm sure he was in a four‑wheel drift. I don't know if he had two tires or four tires to be honest with you. That was one of the last people that I would have thought would slid up there and slid into us. I was on the gas, and he just kept coming, and I never would have dreamed that he would have did the slide. I don't know if the spotter called him clear and I was there.
There was just a million things that could have happened right there, and we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
KERRY THARP: Congratulations on this championship. You're going to be able to celebrate it up close and personal Monday night at the awards banquet, much deserved, because we know how hard it is to win this championship. Congratulations, and we want you guys to enjoy it and enjoy your reign as NASCAR champion.

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