The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Breakdown: Mansfield 250 by Nikki Krone -- Monday May 29, 2006

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Frontstretch Breakdown: Mansfield 250

Nikki Krone · Monday May 29, 2006

 

In a Nutshell: It looked like it was going to be another Bodine/Musgrave show, but pit strategy foiled that party. The Toyota teammates pitted late in the race, putting them back in the field. Neither driver could make up the lost positions and both finished mid-pack. That left Craftsman Truck Series veterans Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague to battle it out, with the Series’ latest short-track winner, David Starr, in the mix. In the end, Hornaday was able to hold of Sprague to pick up his first win of the season, while Starr finished third.

Who Should Have Won: It would be hard for anyone to argue that Hornaday didn’t deserve this win. Yes, Todd Bodine and Ted Musgrave had FAST trucks and probably would have fought it out for the victory had pit strategy not taken them out of the race. But pit strategy is a major part of racing and it takes an entire team to win a race. Hornaday’s team performed in the pits and the driver performed on the track. And for true fans of the Craftsman Truck Series, there isn’t much that’s cooler than seeing Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague fighting for a Series’ victory.

Two Questions to Ponder After This Weekend’s Race:
1) Does Kevin Harvick have a viable future as a team owner?

Kevin Harvick, Inc. has been impressive in the Busch Series, with drivers Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, and Rookie of the Year candidate, Burney Lamar. Now, with Hornaday’s victory on Friday, they have won their second CTS race (the first coming in 2005 with Hornaday, after going winless in 2004 with Matt Crafton). Many drivers have tried the car owner roll with mixed results. Time will tell whether or not Kevin Harvick will be successful in the long-term, but right now, things are going pretty well.

2) Should NASCAR impose a "three strikes" rule?

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like every time the caution flew on Saturday it was for the 07, the 08, or the 02 trucks. I realize that once you get involved in an accident, it usually makes your truck/car prone to either being in the way because the truck/car won’t run as well, or losing pieces off your vehicle that cause a caution. However, maybe NASCAR should make a rule that if you are involved in three cautions, you are out. Okay, maybe that’s harsh, but it sure seems it’s the same trucks (and cars in the Busch or Cup) that bring out the cautions throughout a race.

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
Mike Greenfield , former major league baseball player, recorded a 26th place finish in his CTS debut. Greenfield managed to stay on the lead lap (albeit the last car) even after being penalized for a restart infraction and after spinning out.

Auggie Vidovich finished 19th in his first ride in the No. 6 Scotts Miracle-Gro Roush Racing Ford. Vidovich was a last minute replacement for David Ragan, who was to drive the truck when Mark Martin wasn’t.

Joey Miller was the highest finishing rookie, earning his first top-five of the season with his 5th place run.

With a 12th place finish, Rick Crawford was the highest finishing Ford.

Todd Bodine continues to lead the points standings over his teammate, Ted Musgrave, by just 20 points. David Ruetimann is third, 106 points behind the leader.

The biggest jump in the top 10 goes to David Starr and Jack Sprague, who both moved up three spots to fourth and sixth, respectively.

The hardest fall goes to Mark Martin who did not compete in this event. Martin, who also missed the race at Gateway, dropped 11 spots to 15th after leading earlier in the season.

Quotable:
“We were pretty decent on Thursday, but we weren’t really great, and then Wally and Todd flew up and the four of them put their heads together, and made this Silverado do well. We lost Ami Mischler on Saturday night, and she was 21 years old and did all of our travel and everything, so I want to dedicate this win to her. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and T.J. Clark lost his son, Spence, coming back from North Carolina. They were taking a brand new race car home, and he was an up and coming driver. The kid lived across the street from me, and it is just so hard to explain what it means to me go to victory lane, and to say praise to all the guys overseas that are losing their lives, and all the guys at home. I want to thank Kevin and DeLana for believing in me, and Rick Carelli and all these guys. What an awesome day!”” Ron Hornaday

“I needed long runs to get (Hornaday), I was really, really good on long runs. For some reason, Mike (Skinner) got up in the way there at the end. It was a good day for us. I didn’t anticipate having a truck that was that good. We went 250 laps on right side tires and that was pretty good.” Jack Sprague.

“I thought I was a little better than Jack (Sprague), but I just couldn’t get by him. I could cut up underneath him, but I just couildn’t get by him without putting a fender to him or bumping him. And, he’s a good friend of mine and I want to pass somebody clean "" I don’t want to knock them out of the way. I tried like heck.” David Starr

Next Up: After a sporadic start to the season, the Craftsman Truck Series begins its summer tour with another race next week. The AAA Insurance 200 from Dover International Speedway can be seen live on SPEED on Friday, June 2nd, beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST.

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