Matt Crafton and Erik Jones both celebrated wins after Friday night’s Ford EcoBoost 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Crafton celebrated his sixth win of the 2015 season, a career-best, while Jones celebrated the 2015 Camping World championship, his first in a national division of NASCAR. Jones’ championship run also resulted in a third-straight owners’ championship for his Kyle Busch Motorsports team.
“I think a lot of it was just being with a great team here in Kyle Busch Motorsports and bringing great Tundras to the race track every week,” Jones said. “I think there were definitely times in the year when I didn’t think we’d be able to do this, and looking back and seeing the deficit we were in at some points and just being able to really pull together and make this all happen here at the end of the year, it was just so, so special for everybody here. I couldn’t think of a better way to thank them.”
Jones headed into the Homestead race only needing to finish 15th or better to claim the drivers’ championship, regardless of the finish of his closest competitor, Tyler Reddick. Jones took a conservative approach, running near the back of the top-10 throughout the race before posting a race finish of sixth. Reddick, meanwhile, finished third. John Hunter Nemechek finished second. Other top-five finishers included Ben Kennedy in fourth and Timothy Peters in fifth.
“It’s just that one column — the DNF (did not finish) where we’ve made those mistakes,” Crafton said of missing out on a third-straight Truck Series title. “I’ve made mistakes, and I’ve wrecked us, and we’ve ran out of fuel, and we’ve done just about everything this year.”
Crafton, with nothing to lose 32 points behind Jones and third in the standings heading into the last race of the season, dominated Friday night’s race, starting on the pole and leading 93 laps of the 134 that made up the race. Throughout most of the race, Nemechek provided Crafton’s toughest competition. Nemechek managed to get by Crafton a few times throughout the race to lead a total of 24 laps.
Jones’ KBM teammate, Daniel Suarez, also led laps early. Suarez got to the lead soon after a cycle of green-flag pit stops around lap 50 and led 10 laps before spinning while leading on lap 62. His race went from bad to worse when he got into the wall after passing John Wes Townley for position on lap 83. In the end, Suarez wound up 30th out of 32 trucks.
“John Hunter Nemechek — that truck that was the rocket ship was the 51 with Daniel,” Crafton said. “I mean, he was flying and I’m like, man, did he put tires on that thing when he went by me? It was a lot of fun, a lot of fun.”
Finishing seventh through 10th were Johnny Sauter, Daniel Hemric, Cameron Hayley and Townley.