The Frontstretch: Tracking the Trucks: Toyota Tundra 200 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Saturday June 23, 2007

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Tracking the Trucks: Toyota Tundra 200

Beth Lunkenheimer · Saturday June 23, 2007

 

In a Nutshell: Johnny Benson became the first back to back winner at the Milwaukee Mile Friday night. He held off a challenge by Ron Hornaday to win the Toyota Tundra 200 at The Milwaukee Mile by 0.949 seconds. Todd Bodine, Mike Skinner and Rick Crawford rounded out the Top 5.

Who Should Have Won: Johnny Benson. In the beginning, it looked like Mike Skinner was well on his way to a second victory at the Milwaukee Mile, but his handling went away midway through the race opening the door up for Benson. The defending race winner looked to have a truck identical to the one he took to victory lane in 2006, and at the end, Benson proved it by taking the checkered flag ahead of Ron Hornaday, Jr.

Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race

1. Should Ted Musgrave have been parked?

In the most controversial on track incident of the night, 2005 series champion Ted Musgrave was parked after an incident with Kelly Bires. Coming into turn two, Bires and Musgrave made contact. It appeared that Ted Musgrave intentionally rammed his truck into the driver’s side of Bires’ truck causing NASCAR officials to park him. Musgrave said he could “hardly steer” his truck following the incident while Bires said it was “kind of uncalled for.” Only Musgrave truly knows if he intentionally hit Bires, and if he’s smart he’ll never say he did. It’s hard to make a judgement based on what was seen on the track, but it looked like an intentional hit.

2. Why didn’t Mike Skinner win?

Mike Skinner dominated the first half of the race, leading 103 laps on the night. Unfortunately for him, the handling on his truck went away toward the second half of the race relegating him to a fourth place finish. Normally a Top 5 is something to be proud of, but Skinner looked like he would run away with his second win at the mile-long oval.

Truck Rookie Report
2007 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
Willie Allen
Blake Bjorklund
Aaron Fike
Matt McCall
Tim Sauter
Tyler Walker ( suspended indefinitely )
Kelly Bires ( 19 races in the No. 21 and 1 race in the No. 16 )
Joey Clanton ( 16 races )
Casey Kingsland ( 24 races )
Peter Shepherd ( 22 races )

No. of Rookies in the Race: 6
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 0
No. of Rookies to Finish the Race: 4
No. of Rookies to Finish on the Lead Lap: 0

Rookie Of The Race: Tim Sauter
Current Rookie Point Leader: Aaron Fike

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle

The Top 5 in the points standings remain unchanged. Mike Skinner continues to hold the top spot by 108 points over Ron Hornaday Jr. Todd Bodine sits 97 points back from Hornaday, and Travis Kvapil and Rick Crawford round out the Top 5.

The only change in the Top 10 came when Jack Sprague moved up one spot to eighth and Aaron Fike dropped one spot to ninth. Ted Musgrave is in sixth, 397 points out of the lead, and Johnny Benson is just 27 points back from him in seventh. Matt Crafton sits in the tenth position, 556 points back from Skinner.

Quotable:

“I think last year we were a little better, but not by much. I knew Ron (Hornaday, Jr.) had the same set-up we ran last year with Rick (Ren, crew chief) being over there. Those guys did a tremendous job coming from where they did. The guys right here at Bill Davis Racing – all the guys did a tremendous job this week. Not often do I do the Polish victory lap, but being here in Milwaukee – where Alan Kulwicki is from – I had to do it. He’s somebody I always looked up to for what he’s accomplished, and he’s done a lot here at this track. So, I had to do that for him.” Johnny Benson

“Second sucks. No, actually we’re pretty happy with that. We had to come from the back after getting spun early. I don’t know if I came down on Willie (Allen) or what, but we spun on lap two and had to come from the back. We just had to use the truck up a little too much getting back through there to make a run at him at the end. They weren’t telling me anything about what lap we were on or anything, and I finally had to ask. Here I thought we were getting near the end and it was only lap 70 and we were already out of brakes. I tried on the last restart to get to him, but I locked the brakes up and couldn’t ever get close to him. Last year Johnny passed us. This year we just couldn’t quite catch him.” Ron Hornaday Jr

“We’re happy, but disappointed. We struggled here but brought our truck home in one piece. We just got off there a little bit. We did an air pressure I didn’t really want to do. Then we got the last set of tires and did what I wanted to do. I just think we got the right set of tires at the end. I thought we could make a show of it at the end, but Johnny is awfully good here.” Mike Skinner

Up Next:
The Craftsman Truck Series heads south for the O’Reilly 200 at Memphis Motorsports Park. The qualifying record was set in 1999 and is held by Greg Biffle with a speed of 120.139 mph. The defending race winner is Jack Sprague. Coverage begins Saturday night at 8:30 pm EST on Speed. The race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.

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