The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Breakdown: Craftsman Truck Series' O'Reilly 200 by Nikki Krone -- Monday August 29, 2005

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In A Nutshell:  He’s dominated several times this year, but never got the finish he and his team deserved.  That all changed on Wednesday when Mike Skinner returned to Victory Lane in the Craftsman Truck Series – his first victory since 1996.  On lap one, Skinner passed pole sitter David Reutimann (who picked up his first victory at Nashville) and never had to look back.  The only time Skinner didn’t lead is when he and the majority of the leaders opted to pit under caution, while Chad Chaffin and Todd Bodine stayed on track with Chaffin inheriting the lead.  But that didn’t last long.  Skinner quickly reclaimed his lead and eventually led 190 of the 200 laps.

Who Should Have Won: Mike Skinner.  Even if he hadn’t been so dominate, the way he has been running the last few months alone are enough to make him deserving of this win.

Question You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend:

Did many CTS fans and observers rush to quick to give Dennis Setzer the 2005 championship? Setzer has had a strong hold on the championship lead for several weeks and was pulling away from Musgrave, but things are starting to come back together.  Setzer has had two finishes outside the top-10, while Musgrave has had two consecutive top-10 finishes (including a second last race at Nashville).  Now, Setzer is backing up closer to the second spot, making it anyone’s ballgame.

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:

Although he hasn’t won since 1996, Mike Skinner’s Bristol victory in the O’Reilly 200 was the 17th of his career.

With his 16th place finish, Dennis Setzer has once again lost points to second place Ted Musgrave.  His points lead is now just 143 over Musgrave, a 35 point lost from the last race.

Todd Bodine and Jack Sprague made the biggest points jump, both moving up three spots.  Bodine is now ninth, Sprague sits 11th.

Ricky Craven took the biggest points dive, falling five spots to 14th, while Terry Cook fell four spots to 15th.

After earning five top-10s in the last seven races, Brendan Gaughan recorded his worst finish of the season (36th) after getting caught up in an early accident.

After winning at Nashville, David Reutimann’s momentum continued, as he won the pole for Wednesday’s race at Bristol.  However, problems with the power steering ruined his chance at a repeat and left him with a 29th place finish.

Quotable:

“This race team probably deserved five or six of these things by now – we’ve been so close.  With about 100 laps to go, Jeff [Hensley, crew chief] told me,  ‘We can make it all the way.’  And I told somebody to slap Jeff.  I said, ‘I’m not doing that.’  Last year we did that and we lost the race.” – race winner, Mike Skinner

“We had an issue with the power steering pump. I was riding along and all the sudden I just couldn’t steer the truck. It ruined our night. It’s disappointing because we went from starting first to finishing 29th.” – David Reutimann

“It was my own fault. It was my own fault for qualifying back there (in the 31st position) and it was my own fault for being so nice to people. Both of those issues will be addressed in the future. We can’t have these finishes and reach our goals for the Jasper Engines Dodge this year.” – Brendan Gaughan following his 36th place finish.

Next Up: The Craftsman Truck Series takes a week off before returning to action at the Richmond International Raceway.  The NCTS 200 will be run on Thursday, September 8th and can be seen live on SPEED beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST

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