In A Nutshell: Johnny Benson scored his third career Craftsman Truck Series win Saturday afternoon in Nashville. Benson was the beneficiary when Mike Skinner and Todd Bodine got together on a green-white-checker restart, scooting by to take the win as those two drivers found the outside retaining wall. Benson crossed the line .492 seconds ahead of second place Jack Sprague, with Marcos Ambrose, Ted Musgrave, and Brendan Gaughan rounding out the Top 5.
Who Should Have Won: Mike Skinner. Skinner had a great truck for most of the day, leading a race high 50 of 151 laps, but the late incident with Todd Bodine killed his chances for a win. Rick Crawford wrecked and brought out the caution with just seven laps remaining, causing a green-white-checkered finish. When the green flag flew, Skinner and second place Bodine got together twice, and ended up crashing out each other. Skinner went on to finish 17th, while Bodine regained control of his race car quickly enough to salvage 8th place.
Two Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend
1) Should NASCAR do something about continued Goodyear tire failures?
Tire problems were the big story Saturday afternoon, and they have been an increasing problem all across the board in NASCAR. Ron Hornaday, Dennis Setzer and David Starr were just a few among several drivers and teams plagued with tire problems. Goodyear seems to be struggling with bringing a tire each week that will last as long as a tank of fuel, and NASCAR has got to do something about it before a driver gets seriously injured…or worse.
2) Will Todd Bodine and Mike Skinner be able to put their incident behind them?
Todd Bodine and Mike Skinner shared a couple of hits during the green-white-checkered finish that cost them both Top 5 finishes. Bodine and Skinner have been friends away from the track for many years, and currently have plans to vacation together in a few weeks. Although the two raced each other hard and shared some not-so-nice words during post-race interviews, past history with both drivers make me think the two will be the best of friends again by the time they make it to Bristol.
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
Nearly 25 percent of Saturday afternoon’s Toyota Tundra 200 was run under caution en route to a record breaking nine cautions. With 37 laps run under caution, the average speed was a slow 108.704 miles per hour.
As far as points go, Todd Bodine still leads the championship standings, but his lead was cut back to 144 over Johnny Benson. David Reutimann sits in third, 50 points behind Benson. Ted Musgrave moved up two spots back into the Top 5 into fourth place, 239 points back from Bodine, while Rick Crawford wrecked out to a disappointing 28th place finish and dropped two spots to fifth.
Jack Sprague was the big points winner this weekend, moving up five spots into the 6th position. Terry Cook, David Starr, Ron Hornaday, and Dennis Setzer round out the Top 10.
“We have seen so many races here given away on the last lap. I’ve even been a part of it. We were running third in a Busch race here a couple years back and the front two wrecked and caught us all out and Mikey (Waltrip) went on to win from seventh. We have seen it happen here a lot. It is a real interesting way to do it, but it is all about that guitar. Those guys want it so bad that they will do whatever it takes.” Johnny Benson
“I never thought in a million years Todd would do that to me to win a race. He did and I hate it. I hate it for him and I hate it for us. We’re pretty good friends off the race track and we have been for a pretty long time. He just got greedy. He can’t win every time. He stepped over the line. You don’t wreck your friends to win a race when you’ve won three or four races already, and you’re running for the championship. I’m not running for a championship, and Todd lost a lot of points today.” Mike Skinner on the late race wreck with Todd Bodine
“Mike said his throttle stuck, but I think his brain jumped out of gear. I know what it was. He was (mad). If I was trying to wreck him I would have spun him out rather than let him gather it back up. I don’t know what he was thinking. The good news is we are back. The Lumber Liquidators Toyota ran great. We’ll pick up from here and go on and get us some more wins.” Todd Bodine’s view
“It is a bad thing that a company as big as Goodyear can’t make a tire that will last an entire fuel load. There are several guys out there right now nursing some sore ribs because they had tires go down and they hit the wall. Thankfully I am okay, and I hope they all are too. But if NASCAR is as serious as they say they are about safety, they need to look at what is between us and the ground, and that is the tires.” Rick Crawford
Next Up: The Craftsman Truck Series has another week off before it makes the short trip to Bristol Motor Speedway down the road in Tennessee for the O’Reilly 200. Race coverage can be seen on SPEED at 9:00 pm ET Wednesday, August 23rd, and can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.
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