Matt Crafton has become the super sub lately. Two weeks ago at the Talladega Superspeedway, Crafton was tabbed as a substitute driver role for Paul Menard in the 1000Bulbs.com 500. See, Menard was dealing with a neck issue and would be in some big trouble if his No. 21 Ford were to get airborne.
So, following the first stage in that race, Crafton hopped in. Now, he gets a second opportunity this weekend at the Martinsville (VA) Speedway. This time, it’s for Matt Tifft.
Unfortunately, Tifft went to the infield care center on Saturday morning only to leave on a stretcher and sent to an area hospital for further evaluation. Luckily, he was able to be discharged from the hospital early in the afternoon but instead of returning to the race track, he’s heading home. The team said that they will update everyone at further notice.
Because Crafton is a Ford driver in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Trucks Series, he’s picked as the replacement.
Tifft, is in his first season in the Monster Energy Series and has one top-10 finish in 32 races this season, that coming in the July race at Daytona International Speedway.
Crafton, a two-time Gander Trucks champion, claimed the 31st spot in both practices in Tifft’s place. Crafton was already at the track and was set to drive the ThorSport Racing No. 88 truck later in the day, when Front Row competition director Donnie Wingo called him up.
“I’ll do all I can do to help them out in any way I possibly can,” Crafton said. “I hate it for Matt and every one of these guys. I was literally just getting around this morning and I got a phone call. I didn’t know if it was one of the telemarketers. I was like, ‘do I even answer this?’ I answered and it was Wingo asking, ‘can you come practice our car here in like 30, 45 minutes?’ I’m like, ‘uh, yeah sure!’”
Crafton’s only Monster Energy Series start came as an 11th-hour substitute for the injured Kyle Busch in the 2015 Daytona 500.