CRAFTSMAN TRUCK Kroger 250Final
Skinner prevails in crashed-filled race at MartinsvilleOct 20, 2007 - 10:14 PM By Bruce Martin PA SportsTicker Contributing Editor
MARTINSVILLE, Virginia (Ticker) -- Mike Skinner held off Jack Sprague's Toyota and Ron Hornaday to win a crash-filled NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Kroger 200 on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway.
The race ended with a multi-truck crash involving Nextel Cup drivers Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and NCTS driver Matt Crafton, among others, as Skinner took the checkered flag.
The race was red-flagged when the front stretch of the track was blocked with wrecked vehicles following a six-truck crash with seven laps to go.
After the track was cleared, the green flag waved with three laps to go, Skinner in the lead and Hornaday hounding him. But with Hornaday and the 33 banging into each other, it allowed Skinner to pull away.
It was Skinner's fifth win this season and gives him a sweep of both Martinsville truck races. Skinner posted his 24th series victory in 150 starts.
The Toyota driver regained the points lead and has an 11-point edge over Hornaday. It's the fourth time in the last five races the points lead has changed in NCTS.
Toyota clinched the Manufacturer's Title for the second straight season.
"I think if Jack would have been in front of me there is no way I could have passed him," Skinner said. "He is a really good sport. He could have wrecked me but he didn't. I would have raced him the same way."
It was Sprague's eighth top-10 finish of the season.
"I got into Terry Cook a little bit there and didn't need to," Sprague said. "I guess he thought it was on purpose because he started killing me there. I wasn't willing to wreck Mike for the win but Crafton was trying to wreck me for second. He don't want to tangle with me, I know that.
"It was pretty calm for a while but after halfway it started to change. People get impatient and people started hitting each other and that's what happens. There's no way you can have a clean race here."
Hornaday finished third in a Chevrolet for his 11th top-five finish of the season.
"That's better than I thought I was going to be after that red-flag," Hornaday said. "We were tight off the corner. We were pretty close to come out of here third. I'll take that. We were running playing bumper tag and I went to the outside and it worked. You don't care about points right then.
"I sure hope I didn't mess Matt Crafton up. He's a big supporter of mine but I had to make that move. It looked like he was loose. I don't know if I pinched him down or what. He gave me the spot and I got in front of him and he spun out. I hate to see that. Coming down to the last (lap) I kept telling my spotter that we were playing bumper tag."
David Star and Rick Crawford were fourth and fifth, respectively, both in Fords.
Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti finished 33rd after his race ended early. Franchitti was tagged from behind, sending the Scotsman's truck into a lazy slide into the third turn wall.
Franchitti's Dodge was able to continue but due to damage to the rear end, he ultimately dropped out after 148 laps.
Jacques Villeneuve's Toyota was hit in the rear, sending it into the infield retaining wall in the front stretch. He finished 32nd.
"Those guys were a problem today," Hornaday said. "The problems I had were with the veterans."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series moves on to Atlanta for next Saturday's EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200.