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In a Nutshell: Travis Kvapil returned to victory lane at Memphis Motorsports Park Saturday night. He held off Ron Hornaday on a restart and ran away from Jack Sprague with just five laps remaining to win the O’Reilly 200. Hornaday, Mike Skinner and rookie Aaron Fike rounded out the top five.
Who Should Have Won: Brad Keselowski. Keselowski started on the pole in Ted Musgrave‘s Toyota Tundra, led the first 20 laps and remained in the top 10 for the majority of the night. Late in the race, Kvapil had the stronger truck and made contact with the No. 9 sending him spinning. In a race that should have been capped by a win for Keselowski, he was left to settle for a 17th-place finish.
Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race
1. Was NASCAR’s suspension of Musgrave too harsh of a penalty?
Following an accident with Kelly Bires at the Milwaukee Mile, Musgrave ran into the driver’s side of Bires’s truck, shoving him into the outside wall. In response, NASCAR handed down the Craftsman Truck Series’ first-ever driver suspension to Musgrave for this week’s race at Memphis, along with a 50-point and $10,000 penalty.
Just a few weeks ago in the Nextel Cup Series, Kurt Busch intentionally ran into Tony Stewart‘s car on pit road, but Busch, who was parked for the remainder of the race was only handed a 100-point penalty and allowed to race the following week. Musgrave did deserve the penalty for his on-track actions, but NASCAR should have either taken points or suspended him; not both.
2. Where did Keselowski come from?
In only his third Truck Series race this season, Keselowski sat in for Musgrave and sure made a name for himself. He came out Saturday afternoon and put the No. 9 Team ASE Toyota Tundra on the pole ahead of Hornaday and Skinner. That front row starting position turned into a very strong run all evening. Unfortunately, late in the race, contact with Kvapil sent him spinning out of the lead. Keselowski’s performance Saturday night showed his ability to run well when he has good equipment.
Truck Rookie Report
2007 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
Tyler Walker (suspended indefinitely)
Kelly Bires (19 races in the No. 21 and one race in the No. 16)
Joey Clanton (16 races)
Casey Kingsland (24 races)
Peter Shepherd (22 races)
No. of Rookies in the Race: 7
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 1
Rookie of the Race: Fike
Current Rookie Points Leader: Fike
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle
Tennessee governor Bill Bredesen named Saturday “Bobby Hamilton Day” in honor of Bobby Hamilton. Memphis Motorsports Park renamed one road leading into the track’s property Bobby Hamilton Blvd. in remembrance of the 2004 champion.
The big change in the top 10 saw Musgrave drop from seventh to 10th. Johnny Benson remains in sixth followed by Sprague who moved up a spot to seventh. Fike and Matt Crafton each moved up a spot to eighth and ninth.
“First things first, I’m a huge Brad Keselowski fan. It’s definitely not how I wanted to make that pass. Man I just feel terrible. I’m really proud of my Roush Fenway team. We just made the perfect adjustments tonight.” – Travis Kvapil
“I’m not really sure without seeing a replay what happened, but the end result was we got hit from behind and spun out. As to whether it was my fault, I don’t know. We did all we could do. It’s still a great run for the Team ASE Toyota Tundra. It’s pretty hard to look past tonight, but hopefully we’ll get a lot more opportunities like this.” – Brad Keselowski
“The guys had great pits stops for me. And at the end there I was 10 times faster than Travis. I was hoping for the O’ Reilly 225 but we ran great. Just like to thank everyone.” – Jack Sprague
“All the guys at Red Horse Racing did a good job. Our Toyota Tundra was really good tonight. Special thanks to my dad. He’s the reason I’m here and I love him to death.” – Aaron Fike
Up Next: The Craftsman Truck Series heads to Kentucky Speedway in two weeks for the Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers. The qualifying record was set in 2000 and is held by Bryan Reffner with a speed of 168.460 mph. The defending race winner is Hornaday. Coverage begins Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on SPEED. The race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.
About the author
Content Director Beth heads up management of our 30-person staff, acting as Tom’s main assistant with technology and personnel while working as Frontstretch’s Truck Series expert. The author of Truckin’ Thursdays and the coordinator of the site’s pre and post-race coverage, she also runs a periodic charity column that spotlights when NASCAR gives back. A childhood transplant to Texas, Beth is a 15-year writing veteran who has contributed content to BRANDT and Athlon Sports, among other outlets.
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