NASCAR Media Conference
November 14, 2013
KERRY THARP: We begin our programming by spotlighting tomorrow night's Camping World Truck Series race. One driver remains eligible for the championship. He's a veteran of the Camping World Truck Series. All he needs to do is start tomorrow night's race and he is the 2013 champion.
Please welcome Matt Crafton.
Matt, I suppose it's been a long week for you, but has it gone by quickly?
MATT CRAFTON: The last six days have gone by quickly. The last two months have drug on for a long, long time. It's tough. A lot of sleepless nights. At night you wake up at 2:00, 3:00 in the morning asking, How can I lose this thing?
I was just talking to Austin and Jimmie. It's nice to have that big points lead, but at the same time it's tough because you have to take a whole different outlook on how to race some of these races because you have the points lead and you have to be protective of it. You don't want to be one of the guys that has the biggest leads in Truck Series history and lose it.
KERRY THARP: Congratulations on an excellent season, Matt. Thanks for being with us.
We'll take a few questions now for Matt.
Q. Matt, if you've been waking yourself up wondering how you can lose the championship, considering all you have to do is start this week, what scenarios came to you this week on how you can lose the championship?
MATT CRAFTON: I figured as long as I got to the racetrack I'll be all right. I've considered sleeping in a rental car out here (laughter).
I feel pretty comfortable with it. I have 30 something other trucks that are going to be out there that will have my back. Ty would still have to win the race if I didn't show up. So I feel all right.
Q. Matt, what has been the biggest challenge this season for you?
MATT CRAFTON: The whole season itself. Last year we switched manufacturers. Like I said, the first two‑thirds of the season we struggled. I had a new crew chief at that. He's coming in, had never been a crew chief at this level. We work very good together, Junior Joiner and I. Just figuring out and making sure we did everything right.
I think we did pretty damn good with it so far.
Q. Matt, your race team owner takes a low profile. Race shop is in Sandusky, Ohio. What is it that makes ThorSport work?
MATT CRAFTON: One of the important things, that's what Duke has always done, he has left it in Sandusky, Ohio. That's where he lives. It makes sense if you're from North Carolina, have your race team in North Carolina. Like he said, Boston Red Sox are in Boston. Los Angeles Dodgers are in Los Angeles. Not everybody has to be in North Carolina. More people to draw from, but it is what it is.
That's what makes it so cool, because he has stuck with his guns. I'm not going to lie, there are times where I've said, We have to have it down here to draw more people, all that. He has dug his heels in there, said, We're going to stay here and win a championship. I can't thank Menards and everybody enough.
Q. Do you kind of feel like you're the Furniture Row of the Truck Series, getting your contract renewed, what it means to have that stability, everybody coming back same as this year?
MATT CRAFTON: Absolutely. It feels great. Like I said, the Furniture Row of the Truck Series. But we've been doing it a lot longer than they have. Like I said, Duke has been adamant of doing it where we're at.
What's so good about being in Ohio, once you have that group of people, it's a lot easier to keep that group of people. I have a great core group of people right now to work with.
Going into 2014, there's no doubt that I feel we can go do it back‑to‑back if everything goes right.
Q. For those listening who don't know you, some people don't know the heart that beats inside you, securing this would mean what to you? If nothing goes wrong, you pull this off as expected, what would it mean?
MATT CRAFTON: It's everything. It's what the family has worked for, what I've worked for since I was a kid. Honestly, I had my first autobiography assignment in first grade when I was a kid, What do you want to be? It was a racecar driver. That's what it would mean to me, it would mean the world to me.
KERRY THARP: Matt, thank you very much. Congratulations on a tremendous season.
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