Matt Crafton was honored last evening at Sonoma Raceway as the three-time NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series champion was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car/Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Crafton, a native of Tulare, California, began his racing career in go-karts, mini sprints, and midgets, winning regional and national titles before following his father, Danny Crafton – who had his legacy on the West Coast – into late models.
When Danny was injured with three races left in the 1996 season, he selected his son as his substitute. Crafton‘s performance in those races led Danny to hang up his helmet and step out of his familiar No. 46 to allow his son to take over. The younger Crafton won four races in 2000 en route to the prestigious NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour championship in a Ford built by his father.
Following Crafton‘s NASCAR Elite Series Southwest Tour championship, ThorSport Racing named him the driver of the No. 88 truck for the 2000 season finale at Auto Club Speedway. He finished ninth in his debut for the Sandusky, Ohio-based team, which began the series‘ longest-running driver-team relationship.
He became a fixture in the Truck Series, driving his way into the NASCAR history books, when he became the series’ first back-to-back champion, winning titles in 2013 and 2014. In 2019, he became one of just two competitors to win three or more series titles — Ron Hornaday Jr. (1996, 1998, 2007, 2009) and Jack Sprague (1997, 1990, 2001).
Crafton has scored all 15 of his Truck Series career wins and three championships piloting the iconic Menards yellow color – the longest active driver/sponsor relationship in NASCAR.
In his 23rd year with ThorSport Racing, Crafton leads the record for the most consecutive starts in the Truck Series at 533, going into the June 23rd Nashville Superspeedway race weekend.
In addition to Crafton, the Class of 2023 included Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brent Kaeding, and Lyn St. James. The 2023 Heritage inductees included Don Basile, Burt Foland, Fred Gerhardt, Nick Rescino, and Leroy Van Conett.
— ThorSport Racing —