HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Matt Crafton romped to an easy win in the NASCAR Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday.
Crafton, the two-time defending series champion, took over the lead on lap 59 and pulled away from there, setting the pace on the final 72 trips around the 1.54-mile trioval to win by a commanding 8.752 seconds. He was out front for a total of 85 laps in the 130-lap event.
Erik Jones led 37 laps but faded to seventh, the last truck on the lead lap.
Crafton, who started 15th in his Toyota, picked up his sixth career win and first in Atlanta, his favorite track. The 39-year-old was coming off an eighth-place finish in the season opener, where he also filled in for injured Kyle Busch in the Daytona 500.
“I was really, really disappointed with qualifying,” Crafton said. “But I knew once the green flag dropped and we ran three laps, these boys are in trouble.”
Ty Dillon trailed Crafton across the line, adding a runner-up finish to his third-place showing in the Xfinity Series race.
“It was a great day,” Dillon said.
The only real drama was the battle for third, with pole-sitter Ben Kennedy passing Daniel Suarez with five laps to go and holding him off by 0.696 seconds. Tyler Reddick, who won the season-opening Trucks race at Daytona, was fifth.
Cody Ware endured the biggest crash, losing control on lap 49 coming through the second turn and smashing hard into the padded outside wall. He climbed out of the car, was checked at the infield medical center, and released.
Sprint Cup regular Brad Keselowski had the fastest speeds in practice, but he got two laps down after a careless penalty on pit road and wasn’t much of a factor. He finished 15th.
In the first event of the day, Kevin Harvick held off Joey Logano to win the Xfinity Series race. The Sprint Cup race is Sunday.
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