In just its second year of existence, the Money in the Bank 150 at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway has quickly become one of the bigger Super Late Model races of the summer. With drivers like NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, and Super Late Model aces Bubba Pollard and Brian Campbell entered, you know it’s going to be a big show. Now, add NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton to the list and it’s even bigger.
Crafton, a two-time NCWTS champion from California, will be racing a car prepared by ARCA/CRA Super Series regular Chris Koslek in a car sponsored by Mattei Air Compressors, a company that also sponsors his Dirt Modified racing efforts. Crafton told Speed51.com that it was actually his sponsor that approached him with the idea of running the Money in the Bank 150 on Monday, June 11.
“They sponsor me on my dirt car as well and they asked me if I wanted to run that race,” Crafton explained. “I said absolutely.”
Lately, Crafton has been focusing a lot of his non-NASCAR Truck Series racing on the dirt, running his Dirt Modified whenever he can. That dirt racing paid dividends when he won the Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway (OH) last July. Crafton also has hopped behind the wheel of an Outlaw Late Model a time or two at the Kalamazoo Klash recently.
But Crafton has also been keeping his Super Late Model skills sharp, even though some people may not have known that. Crafton has raced in Nova Scotia at Riverside International Speedway each of the last four years with the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour.
However, the oddly-shaped .4375-mile Berlin Raceway is quite a bit different from Riverside, or really any other short track for that matter.
“Seat time from what I can see is a huge thing there,” Crafton said. “It’s a cool race track. It’s definitely one of the most interesting tracks I’ve ever been around.”
Crafton has been to Berlin Raceway before. He spotted for extreme sports ace Travis Pastrana at the Battle at Berlin 251 when it was still known as the “Rowdy Race” in 2012. More recently, Crafton has run some test laps there in preparation for Monday’s race.
“The first time out I talked to the kid I’m driving for and he gave me a little idea of where to run. I went out and ran I said ‘Gosh, dude I am lost.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I can tell that. It wasn’t bad, but you’re definitely off.’ He lives like four miles from the track and he has a billion laps around there. I got better and I think my third time out he wanted me to do a mock run. I said ‘I’ll do it, but I still don’t know where I’m at.’ I think it was my fifth or sixth run I was still on my mock tires but I was faster than I was on stickers because I got seat time and was figuring out where I needed to be on the race track.”
As a result, Crafton said he is feeling better about his odds of winning the $20,000 check on Monday night. As of now, the veteran driver said his odds are about “50-50.”
Race fans can watch Crafton go for the win and the $10,000 check on Monday, June 11 live on Speed51.com via a pay-per-view broadcast. Fans can purchase their live stream by clicking here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images