The Frontstretch: Tracking the Trucks : Quaker Steak and Lube 200 by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Saturday May 19, 2007

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Tracking the Trucks : Quaker Steak and Lube 200

Beth Lunkenheimer · Saturday May 19, 2007

 

In a Nutshell: Ron Hornaday, Jr held on to the lead in a green-white-checker finish Friday night to win the Quaker Steak and Lube 200 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Hornaday beat A.J. Allmendinger by 0.244 seconds. Todd Bodine, Mark Martin and Ted Musgrave rounded out the Top 5.

Who Should Have Won: Hornaday. As exciting as it would have been to see Allmendinger get his first career Craftsman Truck Series win, Ron Hornaday, Jr was just unstoppable. It took him just 19 laps to get from seventh to the lead. Twice, Hornaday lost the lead during yellow-flag pit stops, but each time, he was able to retake the lead in less than ten laps; the first time from Mike Skinner and the second time from Allmendinger. Hornaday went on to lead a total of 98 of the 136 laps run Friday night.

Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race:

1. How did Justin Hobgood not collect more trucks when he spun?

Hobgood was running in 11th when his No. 103 Southeast Toyota Dealers Toyota Tundra got loose causing him to spin up into the outside wall before coming down across the track and coming to rest on the apron. Hobgood spun right in front of Matt Crafton, who got by safely by with six other drivers before Kraig Kinser clipped him down on the apron of the racetrack. Kinser got the worst part of it when he ran the front end of his No. 47 Ginn Resorts Chevrolet Silverado into the inside wall. Hobgood finished 36th and was the first truck out of the race, and Kinser finished 29th, 26 laps down.

2. Why didn’t Johnny Benson get fresh tires on his pit stop with 42 laps remaining?

After his right front tire went down sending him from second place hard into the outside wall on lap 123, it’s easy to look back and say he should have gotten tires when he stopped under caution with 42 laps to go. But the real question is, why didn’t he? Earlier in the race, Jack Sprague did the exact same thing when he lost a right front tire. Track position seemed a little more important at the time, but in hind sight, Billy Hagerthy, Benson’s interim crew chief, probably wishes they would have taken the time for fresh right side tires.

3. Will we see A.J. Allmendinger in victory lane soon?

There’s no doubt in my mind that we will see Allmendinger in victory lane this season. It seemed like we might see that Friday night, but Hornaday had a very strong truck. In his fourth race of the season, Allmendinger ran well, led seven laps and earned a career best finish. While Allmendinger has had his share of woes in the Cup series and some bad luck in the trucks, he’s been competitive at times; with his previous best finish of the year being a 15th place run at Daytona. As he gets more experience, this former Champ Car Rookie of the Year will only get better.

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle

Friday night’s win marked Hornaday’s first trip to victory lane at Charlotte and made history in the process. With the win, Hornaday became the first driver in Craftsman Truck Series history to amass 30 victories. It also marked the first race with Camping World as a sponsor on the No 33 Kevin Harvick owned Silverado.

Johnny Benson and his crew chief, Trip Bruce, were penalized after being caught with an unauthorized driver during a test session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 10th. Bruce was suspended until May 30th and fined $10,000. Benson was fined 50 driver points and 50 owner points. The 50 point penalty dropped Benson into a tie with Kvapil for 8th going into the Quaker Steak and Lube 200.

Todd Bodine gained 18 points on leader Mike Skinner and now sits just 85 points out of the lead. Ron Hornaday’s win bumped him up to third. Rick Crawford and Ted Musgrave round out the Top 5.

Matt Crafton moved up one position to sixth, while Jack Sprague dropped two spots to seventh. Travis Kvapil sits in eighth, just ahead of rookie Aaron Fike. With the penalty and a 27th place finish, Johnny Benson dropped two spots to tenth.

Truck Rookie Report
2007 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
Willie Allen
Blake Bjorklund
Aaron Fike
Matt McCall
Tim Sauter
Tyler Walker
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: 5
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: 5

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

Quotable:

“I can’t believe it, a win at Charlotte Motor Speedway. I just never liked this place. They finally took the bumps out of it and it started to suit my driving style a little. I won a lot of races before in blue and yellow trucks, and it’s nice to get this one into victory lane here in Charlotte. We showed up here at the test and could have almost thrown everything at it. We tested Kevin’s truck for him and his was a little looser than this truck, so we let him run that one. When my wife and I looked at the truck and saw it was blue and yellow, we were pretty happy. We won a lot of races in trucks that color.” Ron Hornaday, Jr.

“I don’t think I could have caught Ron at the end. It’s a shame Johnny (Benson) had his problems because we were having a good race there for second there. These guys worked hard to get the truck back together after the incident and practice. It’s a real testament to those guys. We had an awesome truck, but Ron was just a tick better. His was good getting in, and mine was good getting off the corners. If he would have made a mistake I would have been all over him.” A.J. Allmendinger

“That was a nice consistent run. We didn’t have a truck that could win, but we did the best we could with it. That’s what we need to do over the next six weeks. We don’t need to get involved in problems on the track or have problems on pit road. If we have a tenth place truck, we need to finish tenth with it rather than crash it trying to win. If we can do that, we’ll have a shot to run for the championship.” Todd Bodine

Up Next:
The Craftsman Truck Series heads up to Ohio for the City of Mansfield 250 at the Mansfield Motorsports Park. The qualifying record is held by Ron Hornaday Jr with a speed of 110.585 mph, set in 2005. Hornaday is also the defending race winner. Coverage begins Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm EST on Speed. The race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.

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©2000 - 2008 Beth Lunkenheimer and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Chris
05/20/2007 06:21 AM
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Sure be interesting to find out who Benson let drive his truck..??

Beth
05/20/2007 06:59 PM
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That would be Mike Lichty, a friend of Benson’s. The issue was actually brought to the attention of the NASCAR officials because Lichty wrecked. He of course did not have a NASCAR license. The team actually got kicked out of the testing session when it was found out.

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