Third Truck crown slips away from Crafton in closing laps at Homestead

Matt Crafton was denied a third Camping World Truck Series title at Homestead after a late-race pass by Johnny Sauter.

Third Truck crown slips away from Crafton in closing laps at Homestead
Matt Crafton, ThorSport Racing Toyota
2016 Champion Johnny Sauter, GMS Racing Chevrolet
2016 Champion Johnny Sauter, GMS Racing Chevrolet
Matt Crafton, ThorSport Racing Toyota

Crafton started the race off strong and was in contention for the race lead throughout the first half. In fact, he was the only one of the final four title combatants to spend any time out front, leading ten laps in total.

On a restart with just 20 laps to go, he was second and looked to be in a solid position. But it quickly became apparent that the No. 88 was not the same truck it was earlier in the race. He faded and fell under attack from Sauter. The battle was intense, but it didn't last long. Sauter cleared Crafton with 16 laps to go and drove away to finish third, collecting the crown.

Crafton spent the final few laps fending off the other two championship finalist, successfully doing so and finishing seventh. 

"Really good at the beginning and then was terrible there on the last run and came up short," Crafton said bluntly after the defeat.

"I kind of figured it was a matter of time," he later added when asked about Sauter's critical pass. "We were just really bad on that last run for whatever reason. We just went the wrong way for whatever reason. It just got really tight on that last run. The run before that was just a little bit free, and on that last run it just got really tight on entry."

Christopher Bell crossed the finish line eighth, while Timothy Peters was ninth. 

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