|Finish||Start||Trk #||Driver||Team||Laps||Points||Bonus||Award||Status||Times||# Led|
|1||5||30||Todd Bodine||Lumber Liquidators Toyota||94||190||5||$78,700||Running||3||10|
|2||7||33||Ron Hornaday, Jr.||Camping World Chevy||94||170||$51,475||Running|
|3||13||51||Kyle Busch||Miccosukee Resorts/NOS Energy Drink Toyota||94||170||5||$36,170||Running||3||14|
|4||3||6||Colin Braun #||Con-way Freight Ford||94||165||5||$28,010||Running||3||4|
|5||10||9||Mike Wallace||GEICO/Germain Toyota Toyota||94||155||$17,710||Running|
|6||25||81||Landon Cassill||National Guard Chevy||94||150||$16,110||Running|
|7||23||16||Brian Scott #||Albertsons Toyota||94||151||5||$17,810||Running||1||1|
|8||24||7||T.J. Bell, Jr.||Home 4 the Holidays/Heathcliff's Chevy||94||142||$17,310||Running|
|9||9||5||Mike Skinner||Toyota Tundra Toyota||94||138||$17,210||Running|
|10||21||8||Chad McCumbee||Malcolmson Construction Chevy||94||134||$19,160||Running|
|11||17||23||Johnny Benson||Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota||94||130||$17,010||Running|
|12||1||99||Erik Darnell||Northern Tool + Equipment Ford||94||137||10||$19,035||Running||2||48|
|13||8||18||Dennis Setzer||Bessemer City Dodge Dodge||94||129||5||$18,635||Running||3||12|
|14||18||15||John Andretti||Hyprene Ergon Toyota||94||126||5||$16,635||Running||1||3|
|15||16||22||Scott Speed #||Red Bull Toyota||94||118||$17,685||Running|
|16||12||88||Matt Crafton||Menards/Super Clean Chevy||94||115||$16,435||Running|
|17||14||13||Shelby Howard||FarmPaint.com Chevy||94||112||$16,335||Running|
|18||2||09||John Wes Townley||Zaxby's Ford||94||109||$16,435||Running|
|19||26||11||David Starr||Zachry Toyota||94||106||$16,110||Running|
|20||20||10||Brendan Gaughan||Int'l MAXXFORCE Diesel Ford||94||108||5||$16,710||Running||1||2|
|21||28||40||Jeff Green||Key Motorsports Chevy||94||100||$15,910||Running|
|22||4||21||Jon Wood||Air Force Ford||94||97||$14,560||Running|
|23||15||60||Terry Cook||Wyler.com Toyota||93||94||$14,460||Running|
|24||30||28||Wayne Edwards||Eagle Valley Construction Chevy||93||91||$13,360||Running|
|25||31||48||Bryan Silas||D.R. Horton-America's Builder Chevy||90||88||$13,260||Running|
|26||6||59||Joey Logano||Team ASE/Raybestos/HT Toyota||89||85||$13,160||Running|
|27||19||2||Jack Sprague||American Commercial Lines Chevy||65||82||$13,060||Accident|
|28||11||14||Rick Crawford||Circle Bar Truck Corral/Powerstroke Diesel Ford||52||79||$12,960||Radiator|
|29||27||08||Jason White||GunBroker.com Dodge||50||76||$12,860||Clutch|
|30||22||07||Sean Murphy||ASI Limited Chevy||48||73||$12,760||Rear End|
|31||33||89||Richard Johns||Lafferty Performance Chevy||7||70||$12,635||Engine|
|32||29||0||Norm Benning||ASI Limited Chevy||5||67||$12,535||Overheating|
|33||32||53||Justin Hobgood||Georgia Beef Board Chevy||1||64||$12,435||Engine|
|Race Comments:||In front of an estimated crowd of 70,000 - Todd Bodine won the Mountain Dew 250 Fueled by Winn-Dixie - his 14th
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory. Prior to the green flag the following driver droppped to the rear for the reason
indicated: #21 Wood, #40 Green, # 89 Johns (unapproved impound adjustment); # 28 Edwards, #48 Silas, # 53 Hobgood
|Failed to Qualify:||N/A|
|Time of Race:||1 Hrs, 43 Mins, 06 Secs.|
|Average Speed:||145.513 MPH|
|Margin of Victory:||0.074 Seconds|
|Caution Flags:||4 for 17 laps: Laps: 2-3 (Debris); 20-22 (Debris); 68-76 (#2 accident turn 4); 85-87 (6,15,60 accident turn 4)|
|Lead Changes:||16 among 8 drivers: E. Darnell 1-32; T. Bodine 33; E. Darnell 34-49; B. Gaughan 50-51; K. Busch 52; D. Setzer 53;
J. Andretti 54-56; D. Setzer 57-58; T. Bodine 59-66; C. Braun # 67; D. Setzer 68-76; C. Braun # 77-78; K. Busch 79;
B. Scott # 80; K. Busch 81-92; C. Braun # 93; T. Bodine 94;
|Pos||Driver||BPts||Pts||Ldr||Starts||Pole||Wins||Top 5||Top 10||DNFs||Winnings|
|1||Ron Hornaday, Jr.||115||3027||0||20||3||5||12||15||0||$628,430|
|13||Colin Braun #||15||2310||-717||20||0||0||2||7||3||$272,385|
|17||Brian Scott #||5||2059||-968||20||0||0||0||3||5||$234,725|
|24||Scott Speed #||10||1368||-1659||11||1||1||3||5||2||$210,795|
|25||T.J. Bell, Jr.||0||1342||-1685||12||0||0||0||5||2||$141,295|
|38||John Wes Townley||0||531||-2496||6||0||0||0||0||2||$62,820|
|42||J C Stout||0||478||-2549||7||0||0||0||0||5||$68,070|
|65||P J Jones||0||152||-2875||2||0||0||0||0||1||$24,495|
|92||A J Allmendinger||0||0||-3027||1||0||0||0||0||0||$11,360|
|93||Gary St Amant||0||0||-3027||1||0||0||0||0||0||$7,910|
|1||99||Erik Darnell||Northern Tool + Equipment Ford||52.687||181.753|
|2||09||John Wes Townley||Zaxby's Ford||52.742||181.563|
|3||6||Colin Braun #||Con-way Freight Ford||52.879||181.093|
|4||21||Jon Wood||Air Force Ford||53.411||179.289|
|5||30||Todd Bodine||Lumber Liquidators Toyota||53.526||178.904|
|6||59||Joey Logano||Team ASE/Raybestos/HT Toyota||53.554||178.810|
|7||33||Ron Hornaday, Jr.||Camping World Chevy||53.602||178.650|
|8||18||Dennis Setzer||Bessemer City Dodge Dodge||53.673||178.414|
|9||5||Mike Skinner||Toyota Tundra Toyota||53.720||178.258|
|10||9||Mike Wallace||GEICO/Germain Toyota Toyota||53.740||178.191|
|11||14||Rick Crawford||Circle Bar/Powerstroke Diesel by Int'l Ford||53.760||178.125|
|12||88||Matt Crafton||Menards/Super Clean Chevy||53.785||178.042|
|13||51||Kyle Busch||Miccosukee Resorts/NOS Energy Drink Toyota||53.849||177.831|
|14||13||Shelby Howard||FarmPaint.com Chevy||53.903||177.652|
|15||60||Terry Cook||Wyler.com Toyota||53.926||177.577|
|16||22||Scott Speed #||Red Bull Toyota||53.934||177.550|
|17||23||Johnny Benson||Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota||53.988||177.373|
|18||15||John Andretti||Hyprene Ergon Toyota||54.031||177.232|
|19||2||Jack Sprague||American Commercial Lines Chevy||54.045||177.186|
|20||10||Brendan Gaughan||International MAXXFORCE Diesel Ford||54.045||177.186|
|21||8||Chad McCumbee||Malcolmson Construction Chevy||54.067||177.114|
|22||07||Sean Murphy||ASI Limited Chevy||54.123||176.930|
|23||16||Brian Scott #||Albertsons Toyota||54.149||176.845|
|24||7||T.J. Bell, Jr.||Home 4 the Holidays/Heathcliff's Chevy||54.179||176.747|
|25||81||Landon Cassill||National Guard Chevy||54.304||176.341|
|26||11||David Starr||Zachry Toyota||54.480||175.771|
|27||08||Jason White||GunBroker.com Dodge||54.586||175.430|
|28||40||Jeff Green||Key Motorsports Chevy||54.590||175.417|
|29||0||Norm Benning||ASI Limited Chevy||54.784||174.796|
|30||28||Wayne Edwards||Eagle Valley Construction Chevy||55.230||173.384|
|31||48||Bryan Silas||D.R. Horton-America's Builder Chevy||55.328||173.077|
|32||53||Justin Hobgood||Georgia Beef Board Chevy||55.397||172.861|
|33||89||Richard Johns||Lafferty Performance Chevy||57.285||167.164|
|DNQ - None|
|1||30||Todd Bodine||Lumber Liquidators Toyota||49.800||192.289||29|
|2||60||Terry Cook||Wyler.com Toyota||49.902||191.896||22|
|3||14||Rick Crawford||Circle Bar/Powerstroke Diesel by Int'l Diesel||49.909||191.869||31|
|4||2||Jack Sprague||American Commercial Lines Chevy||50.058||191.298||34|
|5||09||John Wes Townley||Zaxby's Ford||50.242||190.598||29|
|6||99||Erik Darnell||Northern Tool + Equipment Ford||50.409||189.966||27|
|7||6||Colin Braun #||Con-way Freight Ford||50.429||189.891||25|
|8||22||Scott Speed #||Red Bull Toyota||50.467||189.748||17|
|9||11||David Starr||Zachry Toyota||50.514||189.571||22|
|10||51||Kyle Busch||Miccosukee Resorts/NOS Energy Drink||50.551||189.432||24|
|11||16||Brian Scott #||Albertsons Toyota||50.555||189.417||34|
|12||15||John Andretti||Hyprene Ergon Toyota||50.572||189.354||28|
|13||10||Brendan Gaughan||Int'l MAXXFORCE Diesel Ford||50.577||189.335||20|
|14||21||Jon Wood||Air Force Ford||50.583||189.313||21|
|15||59||Joey Logano||Team ASE/Raybestos/HT Toyota||50.591||189.283||24|
|16||18||Dennis Setzer||Bessemer City Dodge Dodge||50.631||189.133||24|
|17||5||Mike Skinner||Toyota Tundra Toyota||50.652||189.055||26|
|18||07||Sean Murphy||ASI Limited Chevy||50.655||189.044||20|
|19||08||Jason White||GunBroker.com Dodge||50.700||188.876||12|
|20||81||Landon Cassill||National Guard Chevy||50.723||188.790||26|
|21||40||Jeff Green||Key Motorsports Chevy||50.883||188.196||12|
|22||8||Chad McCumbee||Malcolmson Construction Chevy||50.929||188.026||23|
|23||88||Matt Crafton||Menards/Super Clean Chevy||50.956||187.927||29|
|24||33||Ron Hornaday, Jr.||Camping World Chevy||50.972||187.868||25|
|25||9||Mike Wallace||GEICO/Germain Toyota Toyota||50.977||187.849||17|
|26||23||Johnny Benson||Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota||51.090||187.434||12|
|27||13||Shelby Howard||FarmPaint.com Chevy||51.132||187.280||23|
|28||7||T.J. Bell, Jr.||Home 4 the Holidays/Heathcliff's Chevy||51.504||185.927||16|
|30||*53||Justin Hobgood||Georgia Beef Board Chevy||52.806||181.343||11|
|31||*0||Norm Benning||ASI Limited Chevy||54.631||175.285||4|
|32||*89||Richard Johns||Lafferty Performance Chevy||58.469||163.779||4|
|*Required to qualify on time|
|1||21||Jon Wood||Air Force Ford||49.856||192.073||26|
|2||5||Mike Skinner||Toyota Tundra Toyota||50.255||190.548||41|
|3||30||Todd Bodine||Lumber Liquidators Toyota||50.266||190.507||33|
|4||60||Terry Cook||Wyler.com Toyota||50.406||189.977||24|
|5||6||Colin Braun #||Con-way Freight Ford||50.436||189.864||30|
|6||2||Jack Sprague||American Commercial Lines Chevy||50.454||189.797||20|
|7||40||Jeff Green||Key Motorsports Chevy||50.497||189.635||22|
|8||11||David Starr||Zachry Toyota||50.499||189.628||19|
|9||88||Matt Crafton||Menards/Super Clean Chevy||50.500||189.624||26|
|10||7||T.J. Bell, Jr.||Home 4 the Holidays/Heathcliff's Chevy||50.507||189.597||27|
|11||99||Erik Darnell||Northern Tool + Equipment Ford||50.522||189.541||33|
|12||33||Ron Hornaday, Jr.||Camping World Chevy||50.538||189.481||28|
|13||15||John Andretti||Hyprene Ergon Toyota||50.589||189.290||14|
|14||14||Rick Crawford||Circle Bar/Powerstroke Diesel by Int'l Ford||50.610||189.212||24|
|15||16||Brian Scott #||Albertsons Toyota||50.643||189.088||25|
|16||59||Joey Logano||Team ASE/Raybestos/HT Toyota||50.750||188.690||15|
|17||9||Mike Wallace||GEICO/Germain Toyota Toyota||50.751||188.686||11|
|18||81||Landon Cassill||National Guard Chevy||50.857||188.293||19|
|19||10||Brendan Gaughan||Int'l MAXXFORCE Diesel Ford||50.860||188.282||17|
|20||13||Shelby Howard||FarmPaint.com Chevy||50.861||188.278||34|
|21||51||Kyle Busch||Miccosukee Resorts/NOS Energy Drink Toyota||51.040||187.618||17|
|22||*53||Justin Hobgood||Georgia Beef Board Chevy||51.055||187.562||13|
|23||18||Dennis Setzer||Bessemer City Dodge Dodge||51.134||187.273||20|
|24||08||Jason White||GunBroker.com Dodge||51.156||187.192||29|
|25||23||Johnny Benson||Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota||51.160||187.177||21|
|27||07||Sean Murphy||ASI Limited Chevy||52.083||183.860||14|
|28||09||John Wes Townley||Zaxby's Ford||52.519||182.334||19|
|29||22||Scott Speed #||Red Bull Toyota||53.589||178.693||11|
|30||8||Chad McCumbee||Malcolmson Construction Chevy||53.760||178.125||25|
|31||*48||Bryan Silas||D.R. Horton-America's Builder Chevy||54.897||174.436||9|
|*Required to qualify on time|
|1||*0||Norm Benning||ASI Limited Chevy||Bobby Dotter||James Schneider|
|2||2||Jack Sprague||American Commercial Lines Chevy||Delana Harvick||Ernie Cope|
|3||5||Mike Skinner||Toyota Tundra Toyota||Bill Davis||Doug Richert|
|4||6||Colin Braun #||Con-way Freight Ford||Jack Roush||MIke Beam|
|5||07||Sean Murphy||ASI Limited Chevy||Ken Smith||Butch Miller|
|6||7||T.J. Bell, Jr.||Home 4 the Holidays/Heathcliff's Chevy||Kevin Buckler||Butch Hylton|
|7||08||Jason White||GunBroker.com Dodge||Bobby Dotter||Bobby Dotter|
|8||8||Chad McCumbee||Malcolmson Construction Chevy||David Malcolmson||Randy Dean|
|9||09||John Wes Townley||Zaxby's Ford||Jack Roush||Chad Norris|
|10||9||Mike Wallace||GEICO/Germain Toyota Toyota||Bob Germain||Jason Overstreet|
|11||10||Brendan Gaughan||International MAXXFORCE Diesel Ford||Tom Mitchell||Bryan Berry|
|12||11||David Starr||Zachry Toyota||Tom DeLoach||Rick Gay|
|13||13||Shelby Howard||FarmPaint.com Chevy||Duke Thorson||Dennis Connor|
|14||14||Rick Crawford||Circle Bar Truck Corral/Powerstroke Diesel||Tom Mitchell||Kevin Starland|
|15||15||John Andretti||Hyprene Ergon Toyota||Billy Ballew||Doug George|
|16||16||Brian Scott #||Albertsons Toyota||Joe Scott||Jeff Hensley|
|17||18||Dennis Setzer||Bessemer City Dodge Dodge||Clay Campbell||Marcus Richmond|
|18||21||Jon Wood||Air Force Ford||Eddie Wood||John Monsam|
|19||22||Scott Speed #||Red Bull Toyota||Bill Davis||Doug Wolcott|
|20||23||Johnny Benson||Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota||Gail Davis||Trip Bruce|
|21||*28||Wayne Edwards||Chevy||Jim Rosenblum||Dick Rahilly|
|22||30||Todd Bodine||Lumber Liquidators Toyota||Stephen Germain||Mike Hillman Jr.|
|23||33||Ron Hornaday, Jr.||Camping World Chevy||Delana Harvick||Rick Ren|
|24||40||Jeff Green||Key Motorsports Chevy||Curtis Key||Lance Hooper|
|25||*48||Bryan Silas||D.R. Horton-America's Builder Chevy||Andy Hillenburg||Jeff McClure|
|26||51||Kyle Busch||Miccosukee Resorts/NOS Energy Drink||Billy Ballew||Richie Wauters|
|27||*53||Justin Hobgood||Georgia Beef Board Chevy||Bill Bishop||Robert Bentley|
|28||59||Joey Logano||Team ASE/Raybestos/HT Toyota||James Harris||Danny Rollins|
|29||60||Terry Cook||Wyler.com Toyota||Jeff Wyler||John Quinn|
|30||81||Landon Cassill||National Guard Chevy||Randy Moss||Eric Phillips|
|31||88||Matt Crafton||Menards/Super Clean Chevy||Rhonda Thorson||Bud Haefele|
|32||*89||Richard Johns||Lafferty Performance Chevy||Chris Lafferty||Chris Lafferty|
|33||99||Erik Darnell||Northern Tool + Equipment Ford||Jack Roush||Matt Puccia|
|* Required to qualify on time|
This Year"s Mountain Dew 250 Will Be Crawford"s "Do Over"
Rick Crawford"s (#14 Power Stroke Diesel/Circle Bar Ford) not one to dwell on the past but if he could have a "mulligan" on last year"s Mountain Dew 250, the outcome might have been different. Crawford"s last-lap challenge to Talladega winner Todd Bodine (#30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota) came up .014 seconds — a fender length — short. But yesterday has come and gone and Crawford, who won a similarly close decision at Daytona International Speedway in 2003, is looking forward. "I"ll do something different this year," he said. "I"ve re-run that last lap a thousand times. I (now) know what to do if that situation comes about again to win the race."
Crawford is a five-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner — but not since August 2006. So Talladega in his native state would be a fine place to end a 54-race winless streak. "Let"s talk about winning but you may not be able to fulfill that opportunity so let"s not be dejected about it (if it doesn"t happen)," said Crawford. "Just being able to participate at a race track of (Talladega"s) size and magnitude with that history means enough to me."
Crawford, ranked sixth, still has a shot at the championship but counting points isn"t something he"ll be doing on Saturday. "The points will take care of themselves," he said. "I"m going to Talladega to win."
Age Is More Than A Number On NASCAR"s "Super" Tracks
Consider this as more proof why Carl Edwards stands among the top echelon of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and well could win this year"s championship. Edwards, 24 when he won Daytona International Speedway"s 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series opener, is the only driver under the age of 40 to win a series race at Daytona or Talladega Superspeedway.
The next youngest winner is Mike Wallace (#9 Germain Racing Toyota), a 40-year-old in 2000 when the series made its debut at Daytona. Wallace will compete this week as teammate to Bodine. Mark Martin won Talladega"s inaugural Mountain Dew 250 in 2006 at the age of 47 following up his February victory in Daytona.
Daytona"s winners also include Joe Ruttman, 56 and the late Bobby Hamilton, 47. Last year"s Mountain Dew 250 winner, Bodine, was relatively young by that standard at age 43. He opened 2008 with a Daytona victory.
Jack Sprague (#2 American Commercial Lines Chevy) has competed in trucks and cars at Daytona and Talladega for nearly a decade. He finally won Daytona"s race in 2007 as a 42-year-old. "I think the key to winning at places like Talladega and Daytona is a combination of experience, discipline and good equipment," said Sprague. "The veteran drivers in this series have had that and I think as a result, they have been the ones in Victory Lane at the end of the day."
Well-Seasoned But Hardly Slowing Down
Daytona and Talladega"s five oldest winners.
Driver Age Track/Year
Joe Ruttman 56 y 3 m 19 d Daytona 2001
Mark Martin 47 y 8 m 28 d Talladega 2006
Bobby Hamilton 47 y 8 m 20 d Daytona 2005
Mark Martin 47 y 1 m 8 d Daytona 2006
Rick Crawford 44 y 6 m 19 d Daytona 2003
Director"s Take: Wayne"s Words
"Talladega and Daytona are similar tracks in some ways but in others are quite different. "Both feature high-speed competition with big packs of trucks and the likelihood of a photo finish with two, three or even four trucks side-by-side. "Talladega is unlike Daytona in that it"s very wide and much smoother. The start/finish stripe also is beyond the dogleg and makes the strategy for a last-lap draft very different. You may see a couple of lead changes between Turn 4 and the checkered flag.
"Horsepower is the key at Talladega; along with a very aerodynamic body. Crews will look for any advantage they can find since 1/16th of an inch in the right place can mean 2/10ths of a second on the clock. They definitely push the envelope. "That"s why the inspection process is so important to keep all the teams on a level playing field. NASCAR hands out the rear spring and shocks and also limits horsepower to a greater degree than at the other tracks on the schedule.
"The tapered spacer used at Talladega and Daytona is 1/16th of an inch less than approved elsewhere. "Past experience has shown that the package works. Last year"s Mountain Dew 250 ended with three trucks taking the checkered flag separated by less than a 10th of a second. It doesn"t get much better than that!" — Wayne Auton, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Director
This Week"s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Leaders
(Through 19 races of the 25-race season)
Points leader – Johnny Benson (2,858)
Driver Rating – Ron Hornaday Jr. (116.2)
Laps led – Ron Hornaday Jr. (980)
Victories – Ron Hornaday, Jr. (5)
Keystone Light Poles – Three drivers with three
Top-five finishes – Johnny Benson (12)
Top-10 finishes – Mike Skinner (15)
Raybestos Rookie Leader – Colin Braun
Races led – Ron Hornaday Jr. (16)
Weeks in Top 10 – Three drivers with 19
Talladega Superspeedway joined the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2006. The event was held from 1995-2005 at Richmond International Raceway. Mark Martin was the inaugural winner during a season in which the Arkansas veteran won a series-leading six races.
In The Loop:
On paper, Todd Bodine should win this race by about eight laps. Of course, no race is run on paper, and this is the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series we"re talking about – where unpredictability is the norm. Nonetheless, Bodine is strong at the two biggest tracks on which the series runs, winning at Daytona earlier this season and Talladega a year ago. Over the two Talladega races the series has run, Bodine has a win and a fourth-place finish. He has a combined Driver Rating of 125.2, an Average Running Position of 3.6, 183 Laps in the Top 15 (97.3%) and 51 laps led. All those numbers are best on the series.
His combined numbers at Daytona and Talladega (5.16 miles worth of terrain) are likewise impressive – and trounce his competitors. At the two tracks since 2005, Bodine has a combined Driver Rating of 121.5, an Average Running Position of 4.3 and has run 95.6% of the laps among the top 15. All those are also best in the series.
In other words, series leaders Johnny Benson and Ron Hornaday Jr. – who have combined to win eight of the last 11 races – will have their work cut out for them if they want to make it nine of 12.
Their stats are solid, though. Benson has a Driver Rating of 104.2 and an Average Running Position of 8.1. Hornaday has a Driver Rating of 99.7 and an Average Running Position of 10.6.
Manufacturers" Battle: Chevy Winless On "Big" Tracks
Maybe this will be the week.
As in Chevy breaking into the win column for the first time on one of NASCAR"s two "super" tracks. Dodge, Ford and Toyota have at least two victories apiece at Daytona and Talladega. Ford is best at the two facilities with five wins in 11 races, including one at Talladega.
The best-finishing Chevy (Willie Allen) was sixth in last year"s Mountain Dew 250. Chad McCumbee (#8 MRD Construction Chevy) was the truck maker"s highest placed entry — seventh — in the 2008 season opener at Daytona.
Trailing leader and defending Mountain Dew 250 winner Toyota by nine points, Chevy is challenged to close the deficit this week. A first Talladega win thus would be doubly sweet.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 2008 Manufacturers' Championship Point Standings Following Race 19 of 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
Benson On Talladega: "Anything Can Happen And Happen Fast"
No driver will win the 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship at Talladega Superspeedway. But one or more contenders could see their title hopes disappear as the difference between first and 36th could be as many as 140 points. Competitors agree winning the Mountain Dew 250 would be great. They would add that surviving with their trucks intact is the next best thing.
"Talladega is your typical superspeedway where anything can happen and happens fast," said Johnny Benson (#23 Toyota Certified Used Vehicles Toyota), whose championship lead is a precarious one point over Ron Hornaday Jr. (#33 Camping World Chevy). "We just have keep out of the big wreck and be there at the end of the race." Benson was third in last year"s blanket finish and will be looking to hook up at the finish with Bill Davis Racing teammate Mike Skinner (#5 Toyota Tundra Toyota).
Hornaday, seventh in 2007, has his gaze firmly fixed on NASCAR Craftsman Truck history. He"s bidding to become its first four-time and back-to-back champion and NASCAR"s oldest national series titleholder at age 50. If Hornaday leads at least one lap in Saturday"s race, he will have led at every track on the current schedule. Skinner is the only other driver to accomplish the feat.
"Last year going into Talladega, I would say we were more on the conservative side. We were only three points behind Skinner and we just needed to make it out of Talladega with a good, solid finish and not try too hard and let one little mistake cause us to lose points," said Hornaday. "We need to have the same mindset this year."
Matt Crafton (#88 Menards Chevy) isn"t wishing anyone bad luck but he needs help to further reduce a 164-point deficit. "At tracks like Daytona and Talladega, so much of it is good fortune, pure and simple," said the third-place driver. "It"s about getting the right break at the right time."
Etc. & Quotable:
Rookies Facing Uphill Fight
Freshman drivers historically haven"t fared well at Talladega and Daytona. Just surviving is a victory in itself.
Brian Scott (#16 Albertsons Toyota) finished ninth in Daytona but the 20-year-old realizes one good day doesn"t define a driver as a veteran in this type of racing. "You have highs and you have lows. You look like you are not even in the same league with someone when they take advantage of you," said Scott. "It is all good when things are going right and you"re making the right moves and capitalizing on other people, but you look like an idiot when it happens to you."
NASCAR Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings after 19 races of the 2008 season:
1. Colin Braun 171
2. Donny Lia 152
3. Brian Scott 137
4. Justin Marks 131
5. Marc Mitchell 108
6. Scott Speed 80
7. Andy Lally 71
Who Is The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series" Most Popular Driver?
Have you cast your vote yet? For the first time in series history, voting for the Series" Most Popular Driver is in the hands of the fans.
Be sure to check out NASCAR.com and vote for your favorite. Nearly 50,000 votes have been cast since voting began July 5. Voting ends Oct. 31.
Martinsville Speedway"s Oct. 18 Kroger 200 marks the beginning of consecutive weekends during which competitors visit three tracks on which they raced earlier this season. Dennis Setzer (#18 Dodge) notched his third Martinsville victory on March 31.
The race is the 20th to be held at the .526-mile track — one of four to have scheduled events in each of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series" 14 seasons.
Skinner Wins A Close One, Ending Drought
After a dominating 2007 season, this year has been anything but ideal for series veteran Mike Skinner. It had been 22 races since Skinner paid a visit to Victory Lane. With new crew chief Doug Richert and the experience of Slugger Labbe leading the way, Skinner broke the drought driving his #5 Toyota Tundra Toyota for the win Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It wasn"t an easy victory for the driver who came across the start-finish line door-to-door with the #99 Northern Tool + Equipment Ford of Erik Darnell. Darnell, who led 56 laps of the race, had Skinner beat coming out of Turn 4 on the final lap.
Skinner knew he had to do something though; he wasn"t going to let this one slip by. Down the frontstretch the 1995 series champion went to the bottom inside Darnell where they stayed side-by-side to the checkered flag. Skinner came up with the win by the nose of his truck. "Wow," said Skinner about the close last lap. "Its just amazing. I"ve been beat many times when I had the fastest truck, and Darnell had the fastest truck," he added. While glad to have his long winless streak over, Skinner felt the weekend, regardless the outcome, was going to bring a lot of gains for his team.
"If we"d finished fifth or 10th or whatever, I still think it was a successful day because of how much we"ve struggled all year," he said. "Doug Richert did a phenomenal job calling practice and Slugger Labbe did a good job calling the race. He put us in position to win," added Skinner.
Lady Luck Has Her Way With Title Contenders
With six races remaining, it looks as though once again the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship is not even close to being locked up.
Lady Luck was not Johnny Benson"s friend Saturday as a cut tire sent the #23 EXIDE Batteries Toyota into the wall. The damage put the team in the garage and out for the night.
With only a 74-point lead over Ron Hornaday, Jr. (#33 Camping World Chevrolet) going into the race, Benson"s misfortunes left the lead for his rival to grab. While the two swapped the points lead a number of times throughout the night, Hornaday struggled to a fifth-place finish which left him second.
Benson doesn"t have any cushion to find comfort in. He holds only a single-point lead over the reigning champion, the closest between first and second after 19 races in series history.
Speaking of making history, should Hornaday"s momentum continue, the three-time champion has an opportunity to become the series" first back-to-back champion.
With the Benson-Hornaday battle heating up, a watchful eye should be kept on the three drivers right behind them who Lady Luck did seem to favor.
After a solid third-place finish at Las Vegas, Matt Crafton (#88 Menard"s Chevrolet) hangs on to the third spot only 164 out of first.
Erik Darnell gave Skinner a run for his money in his second photo finish of the season. Skinner might have won but Darnell"s runner-up finish moved him past the 1995 series champion in points. Now sitting fourth, the Roush Fenway Racing driver is 224 points behind Benson.
Looking at 2007, the remaining tracks appear to not bode well for Darnell. Judging the recent performance of driver and team though, with six top-five finishes, including three runner-up spots, and one top-10 all since his win at Michigan in June, the #99 will remain a contender.
Three points behind Darnell and only 227 points behind teammate Benson, Skinner possibly has a shot to add another series title to his resume. His win came just in time and has given his team the confidence they need for the remainder of the season.
"I"ve been hungry," said Skinner. "I got a lot of fire in this belly and I"m not done by any means."
Toyota keeps the lead following Mike Skinner"s big win at Las Vegas. The manufacturer should keep an eye on the rest of the competition, though.
Chevrolet drivers Ron Hornaday, Jr. and Matt Crafton are hard-pressed to make it back to Victory Lane before the season runs out.
Ford driver Rick Crawford would love to capture the checkered flag next week in his home state at Talladega where he finished second last year.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 2008 Manufacturers' Championship Point Standings Following Race 19 of 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
Toyota: 133 Chevrolet: 124 Ford: 92 Dodge: 69
This Week"s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Leaders (Through 19 races of the 25-race season) Points leader – Johnny Benson (2,858) Driver Rating – Ron Hornaday Jr. (116.2) Laps led – Ron Hornaday Jr. (980) Victories – Ron Hornaday, Jr. (5) Keystone Light Poles – Three drivers with three Top-five finishes – Johnny Benson (12) Top-10 finishes – Mike Sinner (15) Raybestos Rookie Leader – Colin Braun Races led – Ron Hornaday Jr. (16) Weeks in Top 10 – Three drivers with 19
In The Loop:
The future of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series was on full display Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Erik Darnell, 25 years old, and Colin Braun, 20 years old, battled up front all night long, giving a glimpse of what"s to come in the series.
Darnell, a hard luck runner-up, was nipped at the line by winner Mike Skinner by .020 seconds. But his statistics were those of a race winner. In the event, Darnell had a Driver Rating of 121.2, an Average Running Position of 3.9, 21 Fastest Laps Run and led a race-high 56 laps. In the season, Darnell has a fifth-best Driver Rating of 95.6.
Braun ended the night in 12th, but the finish would have been better if not for a late-race accident. He led a lap, had a Driver Rating of 104.4 and had an Average Running Position of 4.3. He was also one of three drivers to run all 147 Laps in the Top 15 (Skinner and Darnell were the others).
Elsewhere, though, Johnny Benson lost almost his entire points lead because of an accident—he now leads Ron Hornaday Jr. by a single point—he had one of the strongest trucks of the night. He had the fourth-best Driver Rating on Saturday (105.6) and had a race-high 27 Fastest Laps Run.
Rookie Colin Braun (#6 Con-way Freight Ford) looked as though he was on his way to finish among the top five before a last-lap accident sent the young driver into the wall and spinning across the finish line. Despite the incident, Braun posted a 12th-place finish.
Braun"s misfortune, however, opened the door for Donny Lia to be the highest-finishing rookie of the race. Lia, behind the wheel of Randy Moss" #81 Nationrides.com Chevrolet, had a strong night, finishing in 10th.
NASCAR Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings after 19 races of the 2008 season:
1. Colin Braun, 171
2. Donny Lia, 152 3. Brian Scott, 137 4. Justin Marks, 131 5. Marc Mitchell, 108 6. Scott Speed, 80 7. Andy Lally, 71
Teams might have thought they were rolling the dice last week in Vegas but the next stop on the schedule is known to be just as dicey. The series will return to action at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 4 for the Mountain Dew 250 Fueled by Winn-Dixie.
Last year"s winner, Todd Bodine, would like to make the trip back to Victory Lane. He"s the only former winner expected to compete in the race.