Crafton looking for another truck win at Charlotte

Concord, NC ( - The Camping World Truck Series will run its fifth race of the season on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

After winning last Friday's 250-mile race at Kansas, two-time defending series champion Matt Crafton increased his lead in the standings to 17 points over Tyler Reddick. Erik Jones is only one point behind Reddick, while Crafton's ThorSport Racing teammate, Johnny Sauter, is 22 points out of the lead.

Charlotte is the third 1.5-mile track on the series schedule this season. Crafton has won the first two races on a mile and a half -- Atlanta and Kansas.

When the series ran at Kansas, Erik Jones started on the pole and dominated the race by leading 151 of the first 161 laps. But Crafton was the one who prevailed in this fuel-mileage battle.

A round of pit stops occurred during a caution with 55 laps remaining, and teams had hoped to go the distance without pitting again. Jones ran out of fuel while leading with six laps to go and ended up finishing 11th. Crafton grabbed the top spot with just two laps to go when then leader Daniel Suarez was out of gas as well.

Crafton led a total of six laps in his win at Kansas, a track that was repaved and variable banking of 17-20 degrees added in the turns in 2012.

Charlotte has 24 degrees of banking in all of its turns, and it underwent a repaving in 2006.

"This place (Charlotte) is going to race quite a bit different," Crafton said. "The transition getting into turn 1 is a lot different than Kansas, and Kansas has a really smooth transition getting in turns 3 and 4. They're a mile and a half, but they race a lot different.

"The tires have got a lot of grip and the track is fairly new, so the side-by- side racing - you'll definitely see a little bit more of it here than you did at Kansas, just because it's so hard to race side-by-side at Kansas."

Crafton scored his first career Truck Series win at Charlotte seven years ago. He will be competing at this track for the 13th time. Charlotte is considered the "home race" for Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck teams since most of the teams have their race shops/headquarters based in the area. ThorSport Racing, owned by Duke and Rhonda Thorson, is located in Sandusky, Ohio.

"It's really cool always coming to Charlotte and racing here," Crafton said. "Duke (Thorson) always takes a lot of pride in coming down here and beating these guys in their own backyard."

Crafton finished second to Kyle Busch in last year's truck race at Charlotte.

Thirty-five teams are on the entry list for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200. David Gilliland, Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski are those Sprint Cup Series regulars scheduled to compete in this race. Kahne, making his first truck start since April 2012 at Rockingham (67 races ago), is driving the No. 00 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports.

Series: NASCAR Camping World. Date: Friday, May 15. Race: North Carolina Education Lottery 200. Site: Charlotte Motor Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 134. Miles: 201. 2014 Winner: Kyle Busch. Television: FOX Sports 1. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.