The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Breakdown : Sam's Town 400 by Mike Neff -- Sunday June 11, 2006

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Frontstretch Breakdown : Sam's Town 400

Mike Neff · Sunday June 11, 2006


In a Nutshell: Todd Bodine went a lap down early in Texas with a truck that was simply not handling; meanwhile, Mike Skinner was dominating the race and looked to be headed for an easy victory. However, Bodine’s team persevered, and he fought his way back onto the lead lap and into the Top 5 as the race was drawing to a close. When a late caution put Bodine on Skinner’s back bumper for a green/white/checker finish, Bodine seized the opportunity, passing Skinner in turn one on the final lap and holding off a final charge from Skinner coming out of the fourth turn to win his third race of the year by .116 seconds.

Who Should Have Won: Mike Skinner. Skinner was the truck to beat almost the entire race. He led a race high 113 of 168 laps, compared to Todd Bodine’s one. Skinner was running away with the race in the closing stages, leading by more than four seconds with 10 laps to go before the caution came out. The late race yellow then put Skinner in the untenable position of trying to fend off a truck with fresher tires in Bodine’s, something he was simply unable to do.

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After This Race Weekend

*1) What does Mike Skinner have to do to win a race at Texas? *

Skinner has now finished 11th, 11th, fourth, second, and second at Texas, finishing on the lead lap in every one of his five starts there. In fact, Skinner has led the most laps of any driver in the series at Texas with 367. Unfortunately, he’s never been leading on the lap that really counts…the checkered flag.

*2) Did Michel Jourdain finally find a vehicle with fenders that he can race?*

Jourdain has been given opportunities in several different Busch cars over the years, with little success. He has logged just one Top 10 and two Top 15 finishes in 21 career Busch starts. In his first Truck Series start, though, Jourdain brought the No. 50 Roush Racing truck home 13th, on the lead lap. This could be a sign of good things to come.

3) Does it really take five laps to clean up after a spin where no one hits the wall?

Jack Sprague spun, didn’t hit anything, and drove away with seven laps to go in the race. For some reason, it took five laps to get the race back to green, so there were only two laps of racing left to decide the outcome. It seems a bit ridiculous that it should take five laps to bunch up the field, check for debris at the site of the spin, and get the race going again.

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:

Bodine’s win increases his points lead in the Truck Series to 115 over his teammate Ted Musgrave. Bodine has now won a season high three races and earned 35 bonus points this season, second only to Mark Martin, who has booked 40 bonus points during the races he has run.

Toyota was once again the dominant truck in the race. They took four of the top five finishing positions with Bodine, Skinner, David Reutimann and Johnny Benson.

Speaking of Benson, he has quietly logged four Top 5s and six Top 10s while securing the fourth place in the point standings, even though he has only earned five bonus points all year.

Chad McCumbee jumped into a different truck this week because his primary truck has been parked for financial reasons. He made the best of his opportunity by coming home ninth in the race and taking Rookie of the Race honors.

“We kept fighting, That’s just what this team does. We got the Lucky Dog and it was just pure luck. We had a good truck, and we got lucky with the breaks. We had the fresher tires and that’s really what we needed. I knew we had a good enough truck. I knew I could get a run off turn four for sure. I cleared him (Skinner) in the middle of the corner in turns one and two and got him. That’s just good hard racing. I wish the two of us could have won this thing. If I had to beat someone, I am glad it was someone who is my friend like Mike.” "" Todd Bodine

“I am pretty disappointed, I am happy for Todd. Todd’s a good friend of mine. I think if we had a few more laps we might have been okay. He had a little fresher tires than we did there at the end, and that thing really stuck on the outside. It was unbelievable. I said, heck, if he can pass me on the outside then he deserves this thing. We were wide open. He just had a little more grip with a couple laps to go.” – Mike Skinner

“These guys really go to work to give me a good truck when we come to Texas, and it came alive here tonight, I was proud of the team when we got out there and took the lead in front of these Texas fans. I thought we were running Mike down there at the end, and then all of a sudden here comes the 30 truck. He’s strong and he has been all year. But we’ll take third.” – Rick Crawford

“Man, we just missed it a little bit tonight. Our Shell Rotella T Silverado was really loose early on in the race and just couldn’t race with those guys there in the beginning. The guys made some adjustments on the stops and it got better and better and we were pretty good on that last run. I knew the fuel mileage was going to be close after the last stop because it was right on the line of our fuel window. So we tried to conserve fuel while at the same time tried to run down some trucks there at the end. We got to about sixth and were making a move for fifth and the truck developed a push off the corner. I think we lost a spot or two, then made one up. But overall it’s not a bad finish for our #85 Shell Rotella team. I think we were the top truck with the type of setup we were running under the chassis tonight.” – Dennis Setzer

Next Up: The trucks move north from Texas to Michigan for the Con-Way Freight 200 from Michigan International Speedway. The race is Saturday, June 17th at 3:00 PM EST and can be seen on SPEED and heard on your local MRN Affiliate. Dennis Setzer is the defending race champion.

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