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Nikki Krone · Monday September 12, 2005
In A Nutshell: One race after making his return to the Craftsman Truck Series’ Victory Lane, Mike Skinner did it again with his victory in last Thursday’s Cheerios Betty Crocker 200 at Richmond International Raceway. Kevin Harvick had an obviously strong truck and looked to be a strong contender. However, Skinner definitely had the truck to beat. Todd Bodine took over the lead on lap 141 when most of the leaders pitted and he opted to stay out. Bodine held onto the top spot until a restart on lap 187, when Skinner moved in on him going into three and slid underneath him to regain the lead. From then on, through several more cautions, Skinner refused to surrender the lead and picked up his second victory of 2005.
Who Should Have Won: Once again, the right team won the race. Mike Skinner was able to dominate and pick up another well earned victory.
Question You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend:
What has happened to Bobby Hamilton? Last year, Hamilton was the Craftsman Truck Series Champion. This season, after earning five top-10 finishes in the first six races, including two victories and a second place run, Hamilton has just His last top-five was a third at Michigan in June, and in the eight races since he’s only finished inside the top-ten twice and has fallen from first in the points to his current position of sixth, 232 points behind the leader.
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
Once again, Dennis Setzer has lost points to Ted Musgrave with another bad run. His 143 points lead has now been cut to 49.
Mike Skinner’s latest victory has moved him from seventh in the point standings to fourth, 205 behind leader Setzer. It’s the biggest jump this week of any driver in the top 25 of the series.
Two of the top 25 drivers took the hardest hit – Hamilton fell from third to sixth and Todd Kluever fell from 12th to 15th.
Tracey Hines picked up his best finish of the season and first top-10 of the season with his impressive fifth place run and it tied the best finish of his career—a fifth place finish last year at Mansfield.
Mike Wallace, who competed in all three races at Richmond (CTS, Busch and Cup) earned his best finish of the season with a sixth place run, picking up his second consecutive top-10 run behind the wheel of Darrell Waltrip’s No. 12 Toyota.
“[The race] was awesome. Good thing I ate my Cheerios this morning. We had an awesome truck when we came here and tested a couple weeks back. Tonight, it was a good truck all night long... Toyota got another one-two finish -- that’s two races in a row. It’s a pretty good deal.” -- Mike Skinner, winner.
"I really had a great time racing the truck. As the race wound down, we all started getting more aggressive and more aggressive and do what you need to do to get by, but at the same time, be smart. We ran out of time to get back up there and race them for the win. But it was a good night and a good run for this team… It was cool to have KISS/KISS Army on the truck tonight. It was just fun to be back in the truck series." Kevin Harvick, 3rd.
“It's been a rough week for a lot of people, and I hope our run here tonight got some attention for the Red Cross and gave some people a reason to call and make a donation,” Tracy Hines, 5th, who carried the Red Cross on the hood of his truck.
Next Up: The Craftsman Truck Series heads to New Hampshire International Raceway on Saturday, September 17, 2005 as a companion event to the NEXTEL Cup Series. Live coverage of the race can be seen on SPEED at 3:00 p.m. EST.
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