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Bodine wins Mountain Dew 250

Oct 6, 2007 - 11:28 PM By Bruce Martin PA SportsTicker Contributing Editor

TALLADEGA, Alabama (Ticker) - Todd Bodine decided to play defense and was able to hold off a tandem of trucks at the start-finish line to win NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway Saturday evening.

The green flag waved with two laps to go and Bodine was ahead of Rick Crawford's Ford. Johnny Benson pulled his Toyota into the battle and the trucks went three-abreast at the checkered flag with Bodine beating Crawford by 0.014-seconds. Benson was third, 0.023 seconds behind the winner.

"I knew Rick was out there because I could see his hood," Bodine said. "It was really close. We had a great truck. Rick timed it just a little too late. If the start-finish line was a few hundred yards further down he would have probably beat me.

"It was always fast but not in front of a draft. The guys went to work on it and I was lucky enough to be the driver. At the end I knew Rick was going to try somewhere. He waited until the end and came up just a little short. I'm glad to be on top for a change. Daytona and Talladega have always been one of my better tracks, just haven't been able to get it done."

Bodine won $83,525 and raced at an average speed of 129.985 miles per hour.

Crawford comes from "Lower Alabama" and tried to get a win in his home state.

"We gave the fans an exciting 600 feet," Crawford said. "Winning at Talladega would have been big to Rick Crawford. To be at this show place in my home state is great. I finished second so I'm going to party any way. I just came up a little short.

"I wish I had been in Victory Lane and it would have been 'Sweet Home Alabama' but it's going to be a party any way."

The three-abreast finish was a dramatic conclusion, especially for the drivers involved.

"I thought we finished second," Benson said. "The difference between us was pretty tight."

Jason Leffler was fourth followed by Dennis Setzer.

This race tightened the NCTS race considerably. Ron Hornaday Jr. now leads Mike Skinner by 14 points. It is the third time the points lead has changed in the last four NCTS races.

Skinner, one of the championship contenders, was dealt a major blow when one of the hood pins broke on his Toyota Tundra, forcing his hood to flap in the wind. NASCAR officials black-flagged Skinner, who got a break when Mike Wallace spun to bring out the yellow flag with five laps to go.

Travis Kvapil's chances at the title also took a hit when he was involved in a crash on lap 75. He finished 26th.

"It's a huge hit," Kvapil said. "I don't think we're going to make big gains but I think we're in a position to gain a few points on these guys. It's disappointing. Now we've got to watch our back and make sure we can save third because I know (Todd) Bodine and (Johnny) Benson are out there and probably will be running strong, so it's disappointing.

"Our Ford was awfully good and it was all about track position for sure. It was hard to get up there and I realized I just needed to bide my time and wait for the last few laps and battle it out then."

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