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Matt Crafton wins on dirt at Eldora, ends victory drought



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ROSSBURG, Ohio (AP) — Matt Crafton's time racing on dirt tracks over the past year paid off at Eldora Speedway.

Matt Crafton won the Eldorda Dirt Derby on Wednesday night for his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory in more than a year.

The two-time series champion passed Stewart Friesen with 17 laps to go in the 150-lap race and won by 1.96 seconds in ThorSport Racing's No. 88 Toyota. Crafton won for the first time since May 2016 at Charlotte.

Crafton bought a dirt modified car and had been running it at different places including Eldora, the half-mile that is owned by three-time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart.

"It has helped a lot, learning what the truck does and seeing what spots to pass," Crafton said after ending a 27-race drought. "Previously, I didn't know what I was looking at but I just kept studying and studying."

Crafton's previous best finish at Eldora was eighth in the first race in 2013. He has 14 career series victories.

Crafton also won the first 40-lap stage after passing Friesen with seven laps to go.

Friesen won the second stage, which was 50 laps. A Canadian with dirt-track experience, Friesen started from the pole, led a race-high 93 laps and finished a career-best second in a Chevy.

Chase Briscoe was third in a Ford, Grant Enfinger fourth in a Toyota and John Hunter Nemechek fifth in a Chevy.

Series points leader Johnny Sauter was involved in an early wreck and finished 23rd. He has a seven-point lead over Christopher Bell.

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The Associated Press

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