The Frontstretch: Tearing Apart the Trucks : The Milwaukee Mile by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Thursday June 21, 2007

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Tearing Apart the Trucks : The Milwaukee Mile

Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday June 21, 2007

 

The Craftsman Truck Series heads to one of the most historic tracks on the schedule this weekend, The Milwaukee Mile. The track has had continuous racing even longer than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This weekend’s race will the be the 13th time the series has visited the track, and in those thirteen years, there has only been one repeat winner; Ted Musgrave. Musgrave won in 2001 and 2004, and is one of seven previous winners entered in Friday’s race. Musgrave will be joined by previous winners Mike Skinner, Johnny Benson, Terry Cook, Brendan Gaughan, Ron Hornaday Jr, and Dennis Setzer.

Skinner won the inaugural Craftsman Truck Series race at The Milwaukee Mile back in 1995, and he went on to win the championship that year. He followed that win with a seventh place finish at the track in 1996. Following the 1996 season, Skinner race just a few truck series races in 1997, 1998 and 2003. When Skinner made his full-time return to the series in 2004, he finished 29th at the Milwaukee Mile. Since then, he has improved, finishing 16th in 2005 and 11th in 2006. With Skinner well on his way to another truck series championship, it just seems right to expect Skinner to have a great run Friday night.

Skinner is going to have to his work cut out for him if he wants his second win at the track, though. No one has ever won back to back races at Milwaukee, but defending race winner Johnny Benson has his sights set on doing just that. In just his third start at the track, Benson started fourth and won by more than two seconds over Mike Bliss in 2006. In 2005, Benson had a DNF and in his first start, he finished seventh.

Joining Benson and Skinner, Terry Cook will be looking for his second win at the mile-long track. Cook started out in a Chevrolet in 1996 and never had a Top 10 finish. In his first year in a Ford, Cook picked up a fourth place finish. In 2002, he outpaced Jason Leffler by less than a second to win the GNC Live Well 200. Since 2001, Cook has had a Top 10 finish in every race at Milwaukee. Terry Cook has gone only 23 races since his last win at Kansas in 2006, and it looks like he has a fair chance for a repeat.

Ron Hornaday, Jr. is having an incredible season that hasn’t really been talked about much. He has only finished outside the Top 10 once, and that was an 11th place finish at Atlanta in the third race of the season. Since Camping World signed on as a full time sponsor for Hornaday’s No. 33 Chevrolet, he has had two wins and an average finish of 4.4, and his record at The Milwaukee Mile is even more impressive than that. His worst finish at the historic track came in 1999 when he finished seventh, but every other race brought Hornaday Top 5 finishes. With an average finish of 3.6, Hornaday should definitely finish in the Top 5 if he doesn’t come home with the win.

Brendan Gaughan has just four starts at the mile-long track, and he has three Top 5 finishes. His most recent finish was 19th, but he and the No. 77 team are running on momentum following a third place finish at Michigan. Dennis Setzer has a pretty impressive record along with every other driver that has won at the track. In his last four starts, Setzer has four Top 10 finishes, one of which is a win. Look for both Gaughan and Setzer to have a strong race and make a run for the win.

Of all of the drivers that have won at The Milwaukee Mile, it’s hard to pick just one that has the best chance of winning. Look for an exciting race Friday night and most likely a second repeat winner.

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