An Interview With:
- (No microphone.)
MATT CRAFTON: Honestly, I haven’t really worried about any of them, to be honest. I don’t say, okay, Brett’s going to be the one, or Chastain, I honestly, I looked at them all equal and I haven’t worried about it. And I guess that’s just been my motto and that’s just been the way I’ve raced and just going to go out there and race my race and race it absolutely as hard as I can and take the gloves off. And I know I brought all my friend with me in yellow and they got Menards across their chest, so we’re going to do whatever it takes to win a championship.
- The fact that you’re back here in this Championship 4, given everything you’ve been through the last couple years, does that make it sweeter knowing you guys have fought back through adversity?
MATT CRAFTON: Absolutely. It’s been very big to be able to fight through what we have fought through this year. I mean, who would have known after Las Vegas and some of the other issues we had this year that we would even be here at Homestead and that’s what’s made it so sweet. Honestly, no one ever thought that we would have been here after Las Vegas and then we had an issue in Martinsville and put ourself in a really big deficit going to Phoenix. And to get ourself out of that hole, to be able to be here, it’s very, very sweet. Just to look back at 2016 when ?? that was the year our shop burned down and that was one of the hardest things I went through as a race car driver in 2016 and the hardest things that ?? one of the hardest races and championships I’ve ever loss was in 2016. As I beat ?? Johnny was the one that I was racing for the championship that year and I had beat him the whole race. I mean, he wasn’t even really close to us. Last sets of tires we put on I felt like I was Joey Logano last week and I know the pain ?? and we took off and it just got absolutely horrendous, just terrible tight and Johnny ran us down and passed us with seven to go and beat us for that championship. And that was the worst deal, just because the shop had burned down, Duke had put so much back into it and committed to it again that, I’m going to rebuild the shop and I’m going to do this, and I wanted nothing more that year than to give him a championship because of just what we had went through that year and what the guys that were working in parking lots, literally parking lots to get trucks ready for the weeks before and to be able to lose it with seven to go. So it’s, it has some of that feeling to it, just some of the adversity we went through this year and it will be very sweet to be able to give if to him tomorrow.
- It’s an odd thing to think about, but you could become the first win?less champion in this.
MATT CRAFTON: That would be great, wouldn’t it? I would love it.
- Would it bother you at all?
MATT CRAFTON: No, nope, I would sleep just fine at night. I would sleep just fine at night sitting next to that trophy.
- Being a little bit later in your career, when it comes to having a legitimate at a championship, I mean you really haven’t left this series in terms of being competitive yet, won a little bit, but you’re still there. This year compared to say 2013 and 2014 and other opportunities, when you get, as I said, a little bit later down the line, how do you approach a weekend like this, knowing that you have a legit shot to win another championship?
MATT CRAFTON: It’s definitely very sweet. And, yeah, if you think about it, or they say I’m, whatever, I don’t even know, 42, 43 years old, I don’t know, something like that, I don’t even think about it. And they call that old, older. I mean, I know Ron Hornaday was whipping our butts when he was 50 years old and I was 24 years old and I’m like, I mean, this old dude isn’t going to beat me. And lo and behold he would just whip our butts. And he was 50 years old. So I know I’ve got a few good years left under me.
- You hope to make it to 350 like he did?
MATT CRAFTON: Oh, yeah, absolutely. That’s the plan and that’s what I’m hoping for.
- Would you take a season with a win, but not making the championship ?
MATT CRAFTON: Absolutely.
- My question is what would you ??
MATT CRAFTON: I would rather have a championship than a win, if that’s what you’re asking.
- No, I’m asking ?? okay, let’s say you don’t win this weekend. Would you rather have won a race and not made it to this week?
MATT CRAFTON: No, it’s just sweet for everybody to have just the excitement at the shop of just knowing that we have a shot to win a championship.
- Would you rather have a championship than multiple wins?
MATT CRAFTON: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Because I know that those trophies at the end of the year are a lot sweeter and just ?? winning the war I always call it that, is definitely a sweeter than winning a race. I mean, yes, winning a race is great, I mean for that weekend. But when we win it in November, I’ve got like two and a half months to be the champion until we go. And usually we win a race and then we only have like five days until you’re the last winner.
- Is it going to change the complexion at Ford when DGR comes on board?
MATT CRAFTON: I don’t know, are they coming on board? Honestly, I truthfully don’t know that. I heard all the rumblings of it, but I do not know that factual to be ?? if they did, that would be a very good deal to bring another Ford team in and just being able to lean on and work with at DGR, because I’ve been friends with David and that family for a long time. So that is not me saying that I know that, because I do not know that if they’re doing that.
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