ThatsRacin

NASCAR: Matt Crafton wins Thursday’s shortened Truck series race at Kentucky

Ben Kennedy crashes into the fence and wall during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday, July 9, 2015 in Sparta, Ky.
Ben Kennedy crashes into the fence and wall during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday, July 9, 2015 in Sparta, Ky. Getty Images

For the second time in three days a NASCAR race ended with a race vehicle smashing into fencing separating fans from the track surface.

Thursday night’s UNOH 225 Truck series race at Kentucky Speedway was halted with five of 150 laps remaining when Ben Kennedy’s truck turned into two other trucks and was propelled into the frontstretch catchfence.

The truck tore down a pole and then became caught on top of the energy-absorbing SAFER barrier before coming to a rest on the track. Kennedy was unhurt, and there were no apparent injuries to any fans.

Matt Crafton, who was leading when the incident took place, was declared the winner. Erik Jones finished second, followed by Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez and Timothy Peters.

In Monday morning’s rain-delayed Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway, a wreck erupted after Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the checkered flag sending Austin Dillon smashing into the catchfence. Debris from Dillon’s car injured at least five fans in the stands, none seriously.

Turning point

On a restart with six laps remaining, Blaney gave Crafton a big shove that propelled him into the lead.

Three who mattered

Matt Crafton: Crafton has led the most laps of his career this season and now has won the most races (four) in a single season.

Ben Kennedy: Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., was visibly shaken after the race but credited NASCAR’s safety measures for sustaining no injuries.

Ryan Blaney: Was looking for an opportunity to take the lead late in the race but came up short.

Observations

▪ For all of those who like to blame the racing at Daytona and Talladega for the cause of cars being knocked into the catchfence, Thursday night’s race showed that these problems are not relegated to restrictor-plate racing. Cars – and even trucks – can be launched airborne and they don’t require enormous speeds or close pack racing to have it happen.

▪ The most remarkable things about Crafton is that while he is now working toward his third consecutive Truck series championship, he has gotten better in each of the three title-contending seasons.

They said it

“Thank the Good Lord for keeping me safe. Years ago, I don’t know if I would have gotten out of my truck under my own power like that.” — Ben Kennedy.

N@SCAR

Three tweets from Thursday night’s race:

Next race

MudSummer Classic

Where: Eldora Speedway, Rossburg, Ohio

When: 9 p.m. Wednesday.

TV: Fox Sports 1.

Radio: Motor Racing Network.

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