Matt Crafton has been here previously, on the precipice of a Camping World Truck Series championship entering the final weekend of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

This time, however, it's much different. And Crafton knows it.

This time, Crafton is one of four series drivers with an equal shot at the title entering Friday night's title tilt in the Ford EcoBoost 200 at the 1.5-mile Florida track. He's one of the Championship 4 to survive to the end in the inaugural Truck Series Chase playoffs, along with fellow contenders Johnny Sauter, Timothy Peters and Christopher Bell.

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Crafton won two series championships back-to-back in 2013 and 2014. But there was no Chase for the series back then, and in neither case was Crafton really required to push himself or his No. 88 truck in the final race to claim the title.

"The first year I won it, I basically just had to start the race," Crafton said. "As long as I took the green flag I was the champion -- and the second year I had to finish like 20th and whoever I was racing for the championship had to win the race, lead the most laps.

"We just rode around and stayed out of trouble at that point, and now this year, we say, go race hard. I like it. It's going to be a lot of fun Friday night without a doubt. We should put on a good show for sure."

Crafton admits that he wasn't too pleased to hear prior to this season that the Truck Series was adopting a Chase elimination playoff format similar to what is being used in the Sprint Cup Series. That series adopted the Chase playoff system in 2004, but modified it into an elimination format only in 2014.

But now that he's made the Championship 4, Crafton says the Chase is fine with him.

"I wasn't a fan of the Chase at all, but right now in the year that I've had with five DNF's that we've had this year, to still be in contention for a championship, that's unheard of," Crafton said. "In the past, with the whole points system, I wouldn't have even thought about it. I would have been happy with a top-five finish in points. But we won enough races early to get ourselves in, and we didn't have too many DNF's in this Chase."

Crafton won back-to-back races earlier this year at Dover and Charlotte. And even though he didn't need to do much at Homestead to win either of his two series championships, he did enter last year's season finale at the Florida track knowing he had to win to keep his slim title hopes alive.

And win he did, claiming his first career win on the 1.5-mile track. In the end, it wasn't enough for him to wrest the championship away from Erik Jones -- but he knows if he can do it again this Friday night, it will be plenty enough to earn him that third title.

His strategy will be simple, he said.

"I've got to beat those three guys. At the end of the day, we're going to race this race just like we've raced any of them," Crafton said. "We're honestly not going to worry about where Johnny is running, where Timothy is running, where Christopher is running.

"If you go out there and win the race, you'll win the thing. If you look in your rear-view mirror and look at who's in front of you, you are going to drive yourself crazy. If you just go out there and drive as hard as you can and put yourself in Victory Lane at the end, you know you'll get it done.

"In the past I haven't had to do that, and last year I had to. My back was against the wall. I knew I had to come win this race to even have a shot, and we did. We came and set a fast time, sat on the pole and won the race. We came up short still … but I love coming to this place. It's a lot of fun."