The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Breakdown: O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Sunday July 2, 2006

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Frontstretch Breakdown: O'Reilly Auto Parts 250

Beth Lunkenheimer · Sunday July 2, 2006

 

In a Nutshell: Terry Cook snapped a nearly four year winless streak Saturday afternoon, taking his No. 10 Power Stroke Diesel Ford to Victory Lane in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas. With 40 laps remaining, the lead lap trucks pitted under yellow for tires and fuel, but Cook stayed out and assumed the lead. Keeping his truck out front over the final segment of the race, Cook went on to take his sixth career Truck Series win over Rick Crawford. Marcos Ambrose, Brendan Gaughan, and Mike Skinner rounded out the Top 5.

Who Should Have Won: Cook. Cook overcame a rough start to the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 to take control of the race. On lap 18, he suffered a flat tire, and went a lap down during an unscheduled pit stop. Down but not out, the team fought their way back onto the lead lap, and late race pit strategy gave Cook a lead he would never relinquish.

Two Questions to Ponder After this Weekend's Race:

1. Will Kelly Sutton ever be able to turn her season around?

Kelly Sutton accumulated her 3rd DNF of the season this weekend with a disappointing last place finish. More importantly, Sutton may be forced to miss the next Truck Series race at Kentucky due to injuries during Saturday's race. Sutton had a vicious crash on the backstretch with only 13 laps to go that brought out the red flag for nearly ten minutes. Sutton was awake and alert when she was transported to first the infield care center and then to KU Med Center, where she was diagnosed with a broken arm and a broken rib. Sutton’s crash helped contribute to a record low race speed of 111.581 miles per hour at Kansas, with eight cautions for 36 laps slowing the field during the event.

2. Has Todd Bodine run too far away with the points lead?

Despite starting from the rear of the field after not failing tech inspection in qualifying, Todd Bodine gained 12 points on David Reutimann with a fifth place finish Saturday afternoon. Bodine took the points lead in April at Gateway International Speedway, and has held the lead ever since. He started with only a 12 point lead back in April, but now leads Reutimann by 138 points.

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
Rookie Marcos Ambrose finished 3rd at Kansas, becoming the first foreign-born driver to finish in the Top 5 since 1999, when Ron Fellows (Canada) won at Watkins Glen. Ambrose edged Brendan Gaughan by mere inches at the line.

As far as the season point standings, the top four remain unchanged after this weekend's race at Kansas, with Todd Bodine, David Reutimann, Johnny Benson, and Ted Musgrave maintaining their positions. The biggest points winners this weekend were Terry Cook and Rick Crawford. With Cook's win, he jumped five positions into 6th overall in the standings, while Crawford's 2nd place finish moved him up three spots into 5th position.

On the other hand, Mike Bliss, who had moved from 10th to 6th in points after last week’s race in Milwaukee, dropped back down to 11th in points after a disappointing 31st place finish.

Quotable:

“I’m so happy to get this win for the team. ppc Racing has a lot of wins with Jeff Green, Scott Riggs, and Jason Keller in the Busch Series, but throughout the three years of this program we’ve not been able to get that first Truck Series win. We were finally able to bring Dennis (Connor) on board to be the crew chief, and that’s what we needed.” Terry Cook on his win

“I came over here with no oval experience or stock car experience. There have been a couple of guys that helped me out whenever I had a question, Todd Bodine and Brendan Gaughan. It was a real treat to get out there and race them for position today, and to beat them. I owe it to the guys on this team, they have stuck behind me.” Rookie Marcos Ambrose after his 3rd place finish

“We had a decent truck, but it really wasn’t that good. I was really slipping and sliding, but I think everybody was doing the same thing. Not having a chance to qualify hurt us because we really didn’t know what we had.” Todd Bodine on his run

Next Up: The Truck Series weaves it way from Kansas to the other state with a letter K – Kentucky – for racing under the lights. The Ram Tough 225 will be held at Kentucky Speedway this Saturday night at 8:00 PM EST. It can be seen live on SPEED channel or heard on your local MRN affiliate.

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