DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 17, 2013) – Perseverance finally paid off
for Matt Crafton, who captured the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in his 13th full season on the tour.
37-year-old Tulare, Calif., competitor ended a two-year reign by
20-something champions but that hardly obscured the success of a bevy of
newcomers. Four of the top-six finishers in the final standings are
under the age of 23; two of five first-time winners had yet to celebrate
their 18th birthdays.
Erik Jones won at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 8 to become the youngest winner in NASCAR national series competition at age 17 years, five
months and nine days. Chase Elliott, also 17 when he captured the Sept. 1 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Canadian Tire Raceway Park, had been the previous youngest winner.
NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduates scored first national series
victories. Kyle Larson, an Asian-American who’ll race in the NASCAR
Cup Series in 2014 for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, won
at Rockingham, N.C. Darrell Wallace Jr. triumphed at Martinsville
Speedway to become the first African-American competitor to win a
national series race in nearly 50 years.
Burton, son of Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, won June’s event at
Texas Motor Speedway at age 20. Burton won seven poles to match the
record for an official Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate. Burton,
Wallace and 2013 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Ryan Blaney combined to set a
record for most official rookie winners in a season.
different drivers won races in 2013 led by Kyle Busch, who visited
Victory Lane five times. Busch solidified his hold on the No. 2 spot
on the all-time win list at 35, 16 victories behind Ron Hornaday Jr.
Matt Crafton –
won once in 2013 – at Kansas Speedway – in the season’s fourth of 22
races. The victory gave the driver of the No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota
a championship lead Crafton held
through the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Consistency was
Crafton’s ace in the hole. He opened the season with 16 consecutive
top-10 finishes and ultimately completed all 3,391 laps to become the
first series driver to turn in a perfect laps-completed
card. Crafton finished 40 points ahead of Ty Dillon following a
21st-place finish at Homestead. He completed the season with seven
top-five and 19 top-10 finishes.
Ty Dillon and James Buescher (Honorable Mention)
– Dillon and Buescher
finished in a near dead heat for the runner-up position in the 2013
standings. Dillon took second with Buescher third, separated by three
points. They swapped positions several times over the campaign’s final
nine races, but 37 points were as close as either
got to Crafton. Each won two races. Buescher came up short in his bid
to become the first to win consecutive series crowns.
Comeback Driver of the Year
– After top three championship finishes in 2010-11,
Sauter slumped to ninth a year ago. Buoyed by back-to-back victories at
Daytona International and Martinsville speedways, Sauter raced back to
the top of the points table. A mid-season slump blunted the Wisconsin
veteran’s bid for a first NASCAR Camping World
Truck Series title, but Sauter mounted a late charge to finish fourth
in the standings with the most wins – three – by a series
Kyle Busch Motorsports
– The 2010 NASCAR Camping World Truck owner’s
championship team led the points standings just once – after Busch won
the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. KBM’s
No. 51 Toyota was shared by several drivers during the 2013 season with
Busch winning five times and first-year competitor
Erik Jones adding another victory. The team’s six wins were sufficient
to break a tie in the final standings with ThorSport Racing. KBM-owned
trucks won seven times in 2013.
ThorSport Racing (Honorable Mention)
– ThorSport Racing has competed
in a record 409 races – 391 consecutively – and got within a single
finishing position of capturing its first NASCAR Camping World Truck
owner’s championship in 2013. Its No. 88 Toyota, driven by series
champion Crafton, finished in a dead heat with rival
Kyle Busch Motorsports only to lose the title on a most wins
tie-breaker. A ThorSport-owned truck led owner points after each of the
season’s first 21 races. The Sandusky, Ohio-based organization won four
races, second most in the series.
Top Breakthrough Performance
Darrell Wallace Jr.
– Driving the No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota,
rookie of the year contender Wallace set high standards for himself
right out of the gate. He qualified second, led 34 laps and finished
fifth in the season’s second race at Martinsville Speedway. The Concord,
N.C., driver and former NASCAR Next member returned
to the .526-mile short track in October to score his first victory and
join Wendell Scott as the only African-Americans to win a NASCAR
national series event. Wallace finished eighth in overall points and
second in the rookie standings with one pole and five
top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.
Jeb Burton (Honorable Mention)
– Virginian Burton was among the series’
fastest competitors with a rookie record-matching seven poles and 11
starts among the top three. Burton led 154 laps at Martinsville Speedway
in April before finishing third. He won at Texas Motor Speedway in June
and added a pair of third-place finishes to
claim fifth in the overall championship standings. Burton ranked third
among the series’ five rookie of the year contenders.
CarCash Mudsummer Classic Presented by CNBC Prime's 'The Profit' at Eldora Speedway
– A standing-room only crowd packed Tony Stewart’s .5-mile oval to see
NASCAR’s first national series dirt track event to be held in more than
40 years. No one came away disappointed from the Wednesday night race
which featured a “Saturday
night style” format with starting positions determined by heat races
and a slam-bang last chance event. Former NASCAR Camping World Truck
champion Austin Dillon was the winner over Kyle Larson and Ryan Newman.
The race’s overwhelming success was instrumental
in Stewart being named winner of this year’s NMPA Myers Brothers Award.
Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Sept. 1)
– Road racing disappeared from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
after the 2000 season. It returned in 2013 – concurrently with the
series’ first appearance outside the United States. The Chevrolet
Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park outside
Toronto proved to be a rousing success on all levels. Attendance
reached near record proportions and the action on the 10-turn,
2.459-mile circuit was intense to say the least, culminating in the
final-lap dust-up in which Chase Elliott snatched the victory
from Ty Dillon.