The Frontstretch: Race Trax: Sam's Town 400K by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Thursday June 8, 2006

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Race Trax: Sam's Town 400K

Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday June 8, 2006

 

On Track

The Sam’s Town 400K is the ninth race on the 25-race NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Schedule. The 1 1/2 mile Texas Motor Speedway is one of only three tracks the Truck Series will visit twice this season; Martinsville and Atlanta are the other two tracks. Drivers will race 167 laps for the checkered flag. Kenny Irwin, Jr. won the inaugural Truck Series race at Texas in 1997.

Qualifying itself was Thursday afternoon. Mike Skinner broke his existing track record with a speed of 183.206 mph, grabbing his fourth consecutive pole at Texas. J.R. Patton and Blake Mallory failed to qualify. Prior to today’s qualifying effort, Skinner and Ron Fellows shared the record for most consecutive poles at a single track. Mike Skinner also led Happy Hour with a speed of 180.747.

What To Expect

Defending race winner Jack Sprague led the final nine laps of the 2005 Chex 400K to win over Johnny Benson. His truck was mediocre most of the night, but when it counted his team had the right strategy. There were only four cautions compared to nine lead changes in the 2005 spring race at Texas, so expect long green flag racing to unfold during the night.

Who to Watch

Coming off four straight finishes of 20th or worse, Mike Skinner has high hopes for a strong run at Texas this weekend. Winning from the pole has proven difficult in the past, though. The last time a driver won from the pole at Texas was Bryan Reffner in 2001. Skinner led the most laps during the spring race in 2005, but finished fourth.

Meanwhile, David Starr has something to prove at his home track this weekend. He has six top five finishes and eight top ten finishes in fifteen starts, but has never won here. Starr’s best finish at Texas is third, which he has done three times (once in 2001 and twice in 2002). He has four career victories, one of which was at Martinsville earlier this year.

Todd Bodine has two wins in four starts at Texas, and Bodine went to victory lane the last time the Craftsman Truck Series visited TMS. Ted Musgrave, on the other hand, has only three top five finishes and six top ten finishes in ten starts. Bodine currently leads Musgrave by 76 points for the championship.

Did You Know"¦

* The south end of the TMS grounds has a 23 acre lake that is stocked with fish and used for watercraft exhibitions.
* The official mascot of Texas Motor Speedway is “Sparky the spark plug.”
* Texas Motor Speedway hosts "˜Laps for Charity’ twice a year, during which time anyone can drive their personal vehicle on the track for a small fee.

You Don’t Say"¦

“I would trade all four of those poles for a win here at Texas. We had a great truck in qualifying, but I think I want to start where Todd Bodine starts. Wherever he starts seems to work out pretty well for him every week. I am actually surprised we held on to that (pole). I thought someone like Rick Crawford who went out last would have beat us. He definitely had the best track conditions tonight.” Mike Skinner on his record breaking qualifying run

"It is difficult to go to Texas because I have so many people pulling me in so many directions. I have all the family and friends there. I have media obligations and other commitments. It is all great stuff for me, and I love racing at Texas, but it does make it a difficult weekend. But I am going to go to Texas this weekend and think of it as I am there to do a job. I’m fortunate to be driving for Red Horse Racing and this No. 11 Toyota Tundra. I have to take care of No. 1 – and that’s to try and win as many times as I can in this No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota. There are a lot of distractions there for me in Texas, but I have to do my job. And my job is to race. This weekend, Texas is just another race for me. Week in and week out in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is tough, and I would love to win anywhere." David Starr on racing at Texas

"You have to have a lot of horsepower under the hood, and that is a non-issue with our Toyota motor. We have the horsepower. You also have to handle well. We weren’t perfect at Texas last fall, but we weren’t bad either. We’re going to go to Texas with our notes from what we ran in the fall, adjust on it, tweak on it, and hopefully give Todd Bodine and the Germain Racing guys a run for their money." Jack Sprague on what it takes to win at Texas

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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum
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