NGOTS Champion Matt Crafton to Spotlight ARCA Menards Series Phoenix Debut

ARCA

Matt Crafton will be promoting a new era in stock car racing when he hits the track for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at ISM Raceway on Friday, November 8.

Crafton, who drives the No. 88 Menards Ford for ThorSport Racing, will be carrying an ARCA Menards Series decal on his race truck, promoting the 67-year-old sanctioning body’s first visit to ISM Raceway in March 2020.

“It’s pretty cool that ARCA will get to race at ISM Raceway next March,” said Crafton.  “Maybe someone will have an empty seat for me.”

Crafton is a two-time Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion who raced at Phoenix for the first time in 1997 in the old NASCAR Southwest Tour. In 2000, Crafton started from the pole and led the first 75 laps before mechanical problems sidelined him early. Although he lost the battle that day, he won the war as he was still able to clinch the series’ championship that day.

That race came just a week after his NGOTS debut with ThorSport, a ninth-place finish at California Speedway. Crafton hasn’t missed a Gander Trucks race since.

The connection between Crafton, ThorSport, ARCA, and Menards runs deep, as Menards has supported all three entities for more than a decade.

Menards has sponsored Sandusky, Ohio-based ThorSport Racing since 2002 and Crafton has been behind the wheel of the team’s No. 88 truck every season since except 2004. Crafton has 451 career starts, more than any driver in series history. He has 14 wins, 16 poles, and 271 top-10 finishes.

He was the series champion in 2013 and 2014, becoming the first driver in series history to win back-to-back championships. He has made three ARCA Menards Series starts, running as a teammate to Frank Kimmel between 2011 and 2012.

Crafton also served as guest analyst for FS1 for the 2019 ARCA Menards Series finale from Kansas Speedway on October 18.

In addition, ThorSport won an ARCA championship with Kimmel in 2013, with Menards as the primary sponsor. It was Kimmel’s record tenth ARCA title, clinched at the season finale at Kansas where Kimmel also broke Iggy Katona’s all-time win record with his 80th series victory.

ISM Raceway announced earlier this year that the one-mile desert oval would host the ARCA Menards Series for the first time ever on March 6, 2020. In addition to the race being the first for ARCA at Phoenix, the race will mark the opening event of the newly announced ARCA Showdown Series, a ten-race schedule that will bring together the teams from the ARCA Menards Series East and West along with the ARCA Menards Series to compete on the same stage for the first time.

The Lucas Oil 150 is set for Friday, November 8 at 8:30 pm ET. The race will be televised live on FS1 and broadcast on select affiliates of the Motor Racing Network and on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Channel 90.

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