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In a Nutshell: Ron Hornaday Jr. became the first repeat winner Saturday when he took the checkered flag over Erik Darnell, who charged past Mike Skinner and Todd Bodine in the final 30 laps. The New Hampshire 200 had just four cautions, allowing Hornaday Jr. to open up a lead that at times was more than six seconds. He finished 4.211 seconds ahead of Darnell. Mike Bliss rounded out the top five.
Who Should Have Won: Hornaday Jr. After rain cancelled qualifying, Hornaday Jr. started on the pole according to NASCAR rules. The driver of the No. 33 Camping World Chevy clearly had the dominant truck all day. Darnell looked to have a shot to catch and challenge Hornaday Jr. but he ran out of laps before he had the chance.
“This has been such a frustrating year for us,” Darnell said. “John Quinn and the guys did a great job for us before this week, and Matt Puccia and his guys did a great job here. We might have had something for Ron if we got there, but the only way we were going to catch him was if there was a caution.”
Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race
1. There were a few new drivers at New Hampshire. How did they fare?
Donny Lia, Brian Scott and Sean Caisse all came to New Hampshire International Speedway in hopes of making their first career Craftsman Truck Series starts. The weather had other ideas though. Lia and Scott made the field that was set by owner points. Neither driver finished on the lead lap. Lia finished 20th, one lap down, and Scott finished 21st, two laps down.
Unfortunately Caisse was the odd man out and didn’t get to make his debut. He will have another chance later this season to make the field. “Yeah, it’s disappointing but what can you do, you can’t argue with Mother Nature,” he said. “This deal just came together very late, and we didn’t get the entry in before the deadline. We knew the only thing that would screw us up was if qualifying was rained out, and that’s exactly what happened. But we’ll look at the schedule and see where else we can go and race this truck for Germain Racing. It’s a good team, and we’re looking at some stuff with them for next year too.”
2. How did Chad Chaffin fare in his first race back in the No. 40?
During the week, Brandon Miller was pulled from the No. 40 to make way for Chaffin. Chaffin ran in the Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet for 16 races during the 2006 season, finishing in the top 10 only once. Unfortunately, Chaffin didn’t fare too well after getting caught up in a large crash on lap 58. The wreck ended his run and left him with a 36th-place finish.
Truck Rookie Report
2007 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
Willie Allen (No. 13)
Blake Bjorklund (currently without a Truck Series ride)
Aaron Fike (suspended indefinitely)
Matt McCall (currently without a Truck Series ride)
Tim Sauter (No. 07)
Tyler Walker (suspended indefinitely)
Kelly Bires (currently racing the No. 47 in the Busch Series)
Joey Clanton (No. 09) (16 races)
Casey Kingsland (currently without a Truck Series ride)
Peter Shepherd (No. 50)
Jason White (No. 7)
No. of Rookies in the Race: 3
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 0
Rookie Of The Race: Tim Sauter (No. 07) – Finished 23rd after starting 26th
Current Rookie Point Leader: Tim Sauter (No. 07)
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle
Hornaday Jr. gained 25 more points over second-place Skinner and now leads him by 29 points with just seven races remaining. Travis Kvapil sits 271 points out of the lead with Bodine just 27 points behind him. Johnny Benson rounds out the top five.
Rick Crawford is in sixth, just 10 points behind Benson. Ted Musgrave is more than 200 points back in seventh. Jack Sprague finished 24th, causing him to drop two spots to 10th and allowing Matt Crafton and Darnell to move to eighth and ninth respectively.
“I have to credit Rick Ren and all these guys for giving me such strong trucks. The guys at RCR have really helped us out to understand this coil-binding package. This is the third time we’ve raced this truck and it’s always finished second. We had a new truck ready to go but we decided to go back to this one. To come out here and to be as dominant as we were, it was unbelievable.” – Ron Hornaday Jr.
“Third sucks. Ron [Hornaday Jr.] won a race a few weeks ago and we were third and it just left us feeling empty inside. We have good equipment, we’re making good calls in the box, pit stops were phenomenal today and there’s nothing I can really complain about. We just got our butts whipped.” – Mike Skinner
Up Next: The Craftsman Truck Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend for the Smith’s Las Vegas 350 Saturday night. The qualifying record dates back to 2001, when Sprague ran a 161.803-mph lap. In 2006, Skinner took the checkered flag after starting on the pole for his only win that season. Coverage begins Saturday afternoon at 8:30 p.m. ET on SPEED. The race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.