The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Breakdown: John Deere 200 by Mike Neff -- Sunday March 19, 2006

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Frontstretch Breakdown: John Deere 200

Mike Neff · Sunday March 19, 2006

 

In a Nutshell: Mark Martin dominated most of the Atlanta Craftsman Truck Series race, with Todd Bodine the only other driver able to challenge him. As the race wound down, though, Bodine passed Martin with three laps to go with an amazing pass in the middle of a four wide duel. Bodine’s truck was at least 30 degrees askew during the pass, but he never lifted the gas pedal, taking the lead then holding on during a green/white/checkered finish to win the John Deere 200.

Who Should Have Won: Mark Martin. Martin was clearly the truck to beat the entire evening. He led a race high 97 laps and dominated the race, only to have lapped traffic be his undoing near the end, allowing Bodine to close up just enough to make his bonzai end-of-race pass for the win. Martin made a valiant effort during the green/white/checkered, but he could not regain the lead during the final two lap sprint to the finish.

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After The Race Weekend:
1) Is Mark Martin really going to get out of his truck and give way to David Ragan when he is leading the Truck Series point standings?

Martin is dominating the Truck Series through the first three races. How can he possibly get out of that truck when he has been running so well?

2) With all of the hype around Kelly Sutton being part of the 100th female start in the Truck Series, why did she give up the spot so that Chad Chaffin could run the race?

Not sure what the logistics were, but Sutton was part of quite a bit of pre-race hype about being one of two women making the 100th start by a female in the series. Instead, Chad Chaffin found his way into Sutton’s car after missing the race on time with the Key Motorsports #40 truck. Would love to know what that was all about.

3) What the heck was Mike Skinner’s spotter thinking?

Yeah, yeah, Skinner found himself running up on trouble rather quickly when he saw the #04 Truck of Scott Lagasse, Jr. about dead stopped in the center of the race track after Joey Miller’s crash brought out a caution in Turn 4. But with Skinner a good ways behind the incident, wouldn’t his spotter have been able to relay to him quickly there was a truck in the wall? It seems like that info didn’t get to Skinner quick enough…and he ran too fast through the turn and straight into Lagasse, Jr. as a result.

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:

  • Johnny Benson’s third place finish was his first Top 5 and second Top 10 of the season, moving him up to sixth in the points.

  • For the third race in a row, the event was decided by a green/white/checkered finish.

In the point standings, Martin, Bodine, and Ted Musgrave continued to lock up the top three spots, in that order. Musgrave was the only one of the three musketeers to actually slip up this week…his fourth place finish marked the first time all year that Martin, Bodine, and Musgrave did not finish in the top three positions in the race.

Back behind them, there were some big movers and shakers. Ron Hornaday, Jr. and Brendan Gaughan each moved up seven spots in the points. Chad Chaffin and Aric Almirola gained six spots, and Mike Bliss was able to surge ahead five positions.

Joey Miller was the big loser in the point standings this week. Miller lost nine positions in the points. He was followed by Mike Skinner, who slipped eight positions after being involved in a crash, and Brad Keselowski, who dropped seven spots.

Quotable:
“If Mark had gone high, there was no way I could have held him off. He would have gotten me way too loose and sucked me around. When I saw him go low, I knew it was my chance. We were able to keep him pinched down and keep our truck wound up. That’s what we needed, and it made all of the difference.” Todd Bodine

“That was a lot of fun. What got us there was the lapped trucks. We came up on a three-wide pack of trucks and they were all in their own race. That’s what chopped down that lead, and Todd saw an opening and he went for it. It was a great race, these Truck Series drivers do a heck of a job.” Mark Martin

“For a minute, I thought we were in the cat bird’s seat. All I needed was for those two to get together a little bit, and we could have snuck through and won it going away. There was one time I could have stuck it in there three wide, but I got the run a little too late and I would have made it three-wide going into three and we all would have crashed. That wouldn’t have been any good. I thought I could have gotten Mark for second at the end, but we just missed it.” Johnny Benson

Next Up: The Craftsman Truck Series has another week off before heading to their next event at Martinsville, Virginia. The Kroger 250 can be seen on April 1st LIVE at 3:00 PM on SPEED Channel, and heard at 3:15 on your local MRN affiliate. Bobby Labonte is the defending race winner.

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Colin Baird
03/20/2006 07:13 AM
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WAY TO GO, Todd Bodine. Finally, someone wins a Craftsman Truck race other than a Nextel Cup Driver. Nextel Cup drivers have already destroyed the Busch Series, now they are infiltrating the Truck Series. The rich continue to get richer, and the poor just continue to drop by the wayside. What a shame.

Cameron/KK3869
03/25/2006 12:43 PM
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Sutton missed the race because she was injured in a practice crashed so Chaffin filled in for her.

 

Contact Mike Neff

Recent articles from Mike Neff:

Thinkin' Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Special Winter Sprint Car Series set for January debut at Cocopah Speedway
Beyond the Cockpit with Ben Rhodes
Kroger 250 postponed until Sunday afternoon
Denny Hamlin out of the car for the race at Auto Club Speedway

Want to find out more about Mike Neff? Maybe see all the articles he's written here at the Frontstetch? Check out his article archive and bio page then!