NASCAR champ signs on to race in USAC midget action


All it took were a couple of cocktails over dinner with Jack Irving, the Director, Team & Support Services at Toyota Racing Development, for Matt Crafton to sign up for some USAC Midget racing action.

According to

"Me and Jack Irving were having dinner a couple of months ago and thought it would be a good idea," "The next thing you know, they had me signed up."

The two-time Camping World Truck Series champion will make his USAC Midget debut in the Junior Knepper 55 at the Southern Illinois Center in Du Quoin on December 16. Crafton made a trip to Columbus, Indiana, home of Keith Kunz Motorsports, to get fitted for his race car and tweeted out this earlier this week.

Crafton's win at the 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby is what motivated him to get back in the dirt, and if he succeeds at Du Quoin Toyota would like to see him at the Chili Bowl Nationals in January. The 41-year-old added this according to


"I don't know about that one--yet. I love racing, But I'm going cold turkey (to Du Quoin). Bell has a simulator and I'm going to drive it. I got Bell going with me and they say he's an animal there."

"I drove mini-sprints, winged sprints back in the day when I was like 15-16-years-old in California. But this will be different. I'm really excited. At first, I asked myself what the hell I was doing at the same time, I'm like, you only live once so you might as well do it."

If Crafton does well, Toyota may provide him with additional races throughout the year in preparation for a more serious run in 2019. Crafton is ready for the challenge ahead especially with Kunz winning his sixth Chili Bowl Nationals with Bell in January. Crafton added:

"If everything works out and it goes really, really good, of course I would do it. We'll have fun if nothing else."