The Frontstretch: Tracking the Trucks : O'Reilly 200 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Saturday June 30, 2007

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Tracking the Trucks : O'Reilly 200

Beth Lunkenheimer · Saturday June 30, 2007

 

In a Nutshell: Travis Kvapil returned to victory lane at Memphis Motorsports Park Saturday night. He held off Ron Hornaday on a restart and ran away from Jack Sprague with just five laps remaining to win the O’Reilly 200. Ron Hornaday, Mike Skinner and rookie Aaron Fike rounded out the Top 5.

Who Should Have Won: Brad Keselowski. Keselowski started on the pole in Ted Musgrave’s Toyota Tundra, led the first 20 laps and remained in the Top 10 for the majority of the night. Late in the race, Travis Kvapil had the stronger truck and made contact with the No. 9 sending him spinning. In a race that should have been capped by a win for Keselowski, he was left to settle for a 17th place finish.

Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race

1. Was NASCAR’s suspension of Ted Musgrave too harsh of a penalty?

Following an accident with Kelly Bires at the Milwaukee Mile, Ted Musgrave ran into the driver’s side of Bires’ truck shoving him into the outside wall. In response, NASCAR handed down the Craftsman Truck Series’ first driver suspension ever to Musgrave for this week’s race at Memphis along with a 50 point and $10,000 penalty. Just a few weeks ago in the Nextel Cup Series, Kurt Busch intentionally ran into Tony Stewart’s car on pit road, but Busch, who was parked for the remainder of the race was only handed a 100 point penalty and allowed to race the following week. Musgrave did deserve the penalty for his on track actions, but NASCAR should have either taken points or suspended him; not both.

2. Where did Brad Keselowski come from?

In only his third truck series race this season, Brad Keselowski sat in for Ted Musgrave, and he sure made a name for himself. He came out Saturday afternoon and put the No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Tundra on the pole ahead of Ron Hornaday and Mike Skinner. That front row starting position turned into a very strong run all evening. Unfortunately, late in the race, contact with Travis Kvapil sent him spinning out of the lead. Keselowski’s performance Saturday night showed his ability to run well when he has good equipment.

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: 7
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 1

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

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle

Tennessee governor Bill Bredesen named Saturday “Bobby Hamilton Day” in honor of Bobby Hamilton. Memphis Motorsports Park renamed one road leading into the track’s property Bobby Hamilton Blvd in remembrance of the 2004 champion.

The Top 5 remain unchanged for the second week in a row. Mike Skinner still leads Ron Hornaday. Todd Bodine sits in third, 228 points out of the lead. Travis Kvapil and Rick Crawford round out the Top 5.

The big change in the Top 10 saw Ted Musgrave drop from seventh to tenth. Johnny Benson remains in sixth followied by Jack Sprague who moved up a spot to seventh. Aaron Fike and Matt Crafton each moved up a spot to eighth and ninth.

Quotable:

“First things first, I’m a huge Brad Keselowski fan. It’s definitely not how I wanted to make that pass. Man I just feel terrible. I’m really proud of my Roush Fenway team. We just made the perfect adjustments tonight.” Travis Kvapil

“I’m not really sure without seeing a replay what happened, but the end result was we got hit from behind and spun out. As to whether it was my fault, I don’t know. We did all we could do. It’s still a great run for the Team ASE Toyota Tundra. It’s pretty hard to look past tonight, but hopefully we’ll get alot more opportunities like this.” Brad Keselowski

“The guys had great pits stops for me. And at the end there I was ten times faster than Travis. I was hoping for the O’ Reilly 225 but we ran great. Just like to thank everyone.” Jack Sprague

“All the guys at Red Horse Racing did a good job. Our Toyota Tundra was really good tonight. Special thanks to my dad. He’s the reason I’m here and I love him to death.” Aaron Fike

Up Next:
The Craftsman Truck Series heads to Kentucky Speedway in two weeks for the Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinatti Ford Dealers. The qualifying record was set in 2000 and is held by Bryan Reffner with a speed of 168.460 mph. The defending race winner is Ron Hornaday. Coverage begins Saturday night at 7:30 pm EST on Speed. The race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.

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