Crafton returns to his roots with manufacturer switch

(Greg Engle)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In his early days in NASCAR racing, Matt Crafton was a Ford driver.

In 2000, Crafton won two races and the NASCAR Southwest Series championship driving the No. 46 Ford, the same make and car number his father, Danny Crafton, used in the series.

When he transitioned to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series a year later, however, Matt Crafton found himself behind the wheel of Duke Thorson’s No. 88 Chevrolet—and he lost a fan.

“In my old Southwest Tour days in 1997, I started racing a Ford out west, and that’s all my dad has ever owned and raced,” Crafton said on NASCAR Media Day at the Charlotte Convention Center. “He always said whenever I first started racing another manufacturer, ‘I don’t know if I can root for you, because I’ve only driven a Ford and you’ve only driven a Ford.’”

In 2012, ThorSport Racing switched to Toyota, and Crafton followed with back-to-back championship seasons in 2013 and 2014.

But to this day, he has never driven a Ford in Truck Series competition—until this year. Crafton found out last week that ThorSport had struck a deal with Ford Performance to run F150s in the series this year.

“So now I’ve got a new fan in my dad,” Crafton quipped.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.