The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Breakdown â€" 200 by Mike Neff -- Sunday February 26, 2006

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Frontstretch Breakdown â€" 200

Mike Neff · Sunday February 26, 2006


In a Nutshell: In a two-truck race virtually the entire night between Todd Bodine and Mark Martin, Martin outlasted the 30 team during a green-white-checkered finish and took the checkered flag in Friday’s Craftsman Truck Series race at California for his second win in a row.

Who Should Have Won: No one else. Mark Martin was the class of the field for basically the entire night. The only other driver with any potential claim to the win would have been Todd Bodine. If Bodine hadn’t had to come from the rear in the middle of the race for jumping the restart, things might have been different, but Mark certainly looked like the best truck most of the night.

Three Questions to Ask Yourself After the Race:

1) Is the current qualifying process (Top 30 owners points locked in) really good for the sport?

Kraig Kinser was more than fast enough to make the race on speed, qualifying 20th out of 38 drivers. However, Kerry Earnhardt, in the Thorsport Racing Chevrolet, was locked into the field, even though he qualified 38th, 1.92 seconds slower than Kraig Kinser. Should a car who qualified 20th get sent home because of someone with owners’ points? I don’t think so.

2) Are the teams aware of how to avoid a penalty when passing to the right before the start/finish line on the restart?

Todd Bodine may have cost himself the race by not relinquishing the position he gained when he passed to the right before the line on the restart. It would seem that the crew chief or spotter should have known to tell him to give up the spot in order to avoid the penalty. It seems as though a similar situation cost Ted Musgrave the championship a couple of years ago.

3) Will Mark Martin really let David Regan run the 6 truck for some of the races this season?

Mark Martin has run two races in the Truck Series this season, finishing first in both. With that kind of success, there has to be at least some temptation to run the rest of the races. The folks at Germain racing have to be thankful that Mark is going to get out of the truck for most of the races this year.

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle: Joey Miller was the big gainer, picking up 15 spots this week from 33rd to 18th. Bill Lester and Brad Keselowski also both moved up 12 points in the standings, to 22nd and 23rd, respectively. Meanwhile, Bobby Hamilton Jr. was the big loser of the people who have run both races, losing eight spots this week to drop to 14th. Robert Richardson was next losing seven spots to fall from 17th to 24th.

As for other notables in the race, Chad McCumbee made it into the race by the skin of his teeth. He stayed out of trouble all day and came home 25th. Brendan Gaughan continues to struggle, on the other hand. Engine troubles put him out after 17 laps, and relegated him to a 36th-place finish.

Truck Jumper Watch: Mark Martin was the only “Truck Jumper” in the race (full-time Nextel Cup driver moonlighting in the Series). He obviously was the big winner, finishing first for the second week in a row.

“Todd knew what to do. He got me loose, but I just mashed the gas on this F-150 and the power got it done.” Mark Martin

“I didn’t want to pass him, but when he slipped up, I had to (explaining his penalty on the restart)... (Martin) was tight, so he got off of turn 4 better, I was loose, so I got off of two better. It was just tit for tat. I wish Mark was going to be out here every week. He is a great competitor. Todd Bodine

“Had to restart 20th and work my way from the back. I burned my right rear off getting through the traffic or I might have had something for them.” Ted Musgrave

Random Observations:

  • Mark Martin loves the truck series.
  • Eight different drivers led the race.
  • Mike Beam (Mark Martin’s crew chief) looks like he could be Johnny Benson’s brother.

Up Next: The trucks have two weeks off to give the drivers and crews plenty of time to go fishing on Lake Norman. Hopefully they will learn enough to do well in the Jim Ledbetter Memorial Tournament to benefit Cancer Research slated for March 11th on the Lake. The next race for the series will be March 17th at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with TV coverage LIVE 9:00 PM on Speed Channel.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
A Swan’s Broken Wings Equal NASCAR’s Next Concern?
Thinkin’ Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
Sprint Cup Series Facilities Can Build Upon Fan Experience by Looking to Their Roots


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02/27/2006 06:49 AM

2 points. Todd passed on the left but started the pass prior to the line and did not back off and fall in line and that is why he was penalized. He was refering to when he passed Martin late in the race when he was talking about not wanting to pass, not on the restart.


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Thinkin' Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
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