ThorSport Racing driver Matt Crafton corralled the pole award for tonight's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway by reeling off a 173.288 mph (31.162 seconds) lap at Kentucky Speedway.

Crafton notched his seventh career series pole award and will start his No. 88 machine on a Kentucky Speedway NCWTS front row for the first time tonight at 8 p.m. He will share the front row with Nelson Piquet Jr., who clicked off a 172.574 mph (31.291 seconds) qualifying effort in his No. 30 Turner Motorsports truck.

Crafton's previous series Kentucky-best qualifying effort was fifth for a July 10, 2004 225-mile event. He ranks seventh in the series championship standings and sits 49 points off the leading pace being set by Eddie Sharp Racing's Justin Lofton, who starts 10th tonight after turning a 171.048 mph (31.570 seconds) lap.

"I was ecstatic with my truck in race conditions, but in qualifying trim, I was not really happy with it during practice," Crafton said. "These guys did such an awesome job of tightening this thing up and getting it driveable to qualify. They got it better than driveable, that thing was phenomenal."

He will attempt to use his best start of the season to better his series track-best third-place finishes from the 2009 and 2008 225-mile events.

"Everywhere we go, (the key to winning) is just track position. With this truck, I think we really have something working tonight," he added. Piquet Jr. also starts on a Kentucky Speedway NCWTS front row for the first time tonight after starting third in last season's July and October 225-mile events. He won the pole for this season's Rockingham Speedway event in April and will start on a series event on the front row for the third time this season.

"First off, we are really happy to be starting on the front row. The whole team is pumped up. You know a lot of people complain about the bumps here and I think I have an advantage with my F1 experience of running on a lot of bumpy tracks. So, it may be awkward for some of the drivers, but I feel right at home on a track with this much character," Piquet Jr. said. Tickets remain for tonight's event and can be purchased at the Kentucky Speedway gates or corporate offices at 1 Speedway Drive, in Sparta, Ky., just off Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Kentucky Highway 35.

Story by Mike Schmaltz

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