Dillon & Crafton Enjoy NASCAR’s Spotlight
MIAMI – Two champions, two organizations and two heralded rookies shared the South Beach spotlight Monday night during the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Awards, held at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel’s Americana Ballroom.
Austin Dillon and Matt Crafton headlined the evening as both were presented with championships rings and trophies for their respective NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championships.
Dillon is only the third driver in NASCAR history to win the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck championships, joining Greg Biffle and Johnny Benson. Dillon’s championship campaign comes one year after winning the NNS’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, duplicating his success in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
In his 13th fulltime season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Crafton was a model of consistency, posting 19 top-10 finishes in 22 races, including 16 consecutive to start the season. The veteran won the spring Kansas race and finished on the lead lap in every event.
Penske Racing’s No. 22 Ford Mustang narrowly edged out the No. 54 entry of Joe Gibbs Racing by one point in the NASCAR Nationwide Series owners’ championship battle. The No. 22 visited Victory Lane under the control of four different drivers: Brad Keselowski (six times), Joey Logano (three), A.J. Allmendinger (two) and Ryan Blaney (one).
The owners’ championship race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series came down to the last laps of the season with the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota claiming the title based on wins over the No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota. Both cars finished the season tied in points, but the Kyle Busch Motorsports entry had six wins to the No. 88’s one.
On Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kyle Larson, 21, became the first NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate and Asian-American driver to capture Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in any of NASCAR’s three national series. The previous night, 19-year-old Ryan Blaney won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award on the strength of one win and 13 top 10s during the 2013 campaign.
Sam Hornish Jr., Regan Smith, Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier were second through fifth in the championship standings and will be honored along with Dillon in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Ty Dillon, James Buescher, Johnny Sauter and Jeb Burton were second through fifth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final points and joined Crafton on stage.
In addition to the aforementioned honors, each series’ Most Popular Driver was announced after a fan vote on NASCAR.com. Regan Smith and Ty Dillon received the distinction in the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, respectively.