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In a Nutshell: Ted Musgrave took the checkered flag under caution ahead of Brendan Gaughan to win his first race since 2005 in St. Louis. Musgrave survived a green-white-checkered finish in the Silverado 350K at Texas Motor Speedway Friday night that saw the two frontrunners, Chad McCumbee and Jack Sprague, wreck each other shortly after taking the green flag. Mike Skinner, Mike Bliss and Rick Crawford rounded out the top five.
Who Should Have Won: Skinner. Both Skinner and Ron Hornaday Jr. had very strong trucks Friday night. Skinner scored his 10th pole of the season, tying the record he set during his 1995 championship season. Skinner led early before relinquishing the lead to Kyle Busch.
He was forced to pit under green on lap 105 and ended up a lap down and in 16th place. Fortunately for Skinner, Hornaday Jr. was also forced to pit under green on lap 129 allowing Skinner to get his lap back. The two ran sixth and seventh with 18 laps remaining. Skinner went on to lead the most laps, 40, compared to Hornaday Jr’s 35.
Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race
1. How did Andy Lally fare in his Truck Series debut?
Following Kevin Buckler and The Racing Group’s receipt of controlling interest in Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, Lally made his Craftsman Truck Series debut Friday night. Lally qualified the No. 00 Aaron’s Lucky Dog Toyota Tundra in 25th and ran as high as 13th. On lap 38, Matt Crafton took the air off of the rear deck lid on Lally’s truck, resulting in a slide through the infield. Later, on lap 144, Lally sustained damage when Hornaday Jr. and Skinner wrecked. He ended up finishing 22nd, three laps down.
“It was a wild and crazy race. We had a tough-handling truck, but I was glad we avoided the wrecks and finished the race,” Lally said. This whole deal really only came together in the last few days and the guys have done a great job to get the truck ready and guide me through the weekend. We had the goal to finish and we did, so it was a successful outing.”
2. Should anything have been done differently by Sprague or McCumbee on the final restart?
When Hornaday Jr. and Skinner brought out the red flag after wrecking each other, the field was set up for a green-white-checkers finish. McCumbee led series veteran Sprague to the green flag. McCumbee spun his tires, and Sprague got into him resulting in contact that eventually led to both drivers wrecking. While it’s easy to say that something should have been done differently, this was just a racing incident. McCumbee made a mistake on the restart, and Sprague had nowhere to go. The two both wanted to win, and the result was two wrecked trucks instead.
“We had a little clutch slipping problem all race long and we were spinning the tires and that was one of the better restarts where we didn’t spin them too much, McCumbee said. “I knew I had a chance for the win when we got that last caution. We were really good on the long runs there, just didn’t get the respect I needed there at the end. All those guys in the front gave me great respect all race long, but right there at then end, everybody did what they had to do.”
Truck Rookie Report
2007 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
Willie Allen (No. 13)
Blake Bjorklund (driving part-time for Haas CNC Racing in the Busch Series)
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: Four
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: One
Rookie Of The Race: Tim Sauter, finished 10th
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle
Prior to this weekend, there has been little news about drivers changing rides for the 2008 season. Perhaps the biggest announcement made this weekend was about Sprague. He is making the move from Wyler Racing to Kevin Harvick Inc. Sprague signed a multi-year agreement to drive the No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado. A primary sponsor has already signed on, but that will be announced at a later date.
Musgrave is leaving Germain Racing at the end of this season, and he’s taking Team ASE with him. Justin Marks has signed with Germain Racing for the 2008 season, and a formal announcement is expected sometime next week.
Rookie Joey Clanton is leaving Wood Brothers/JTG Racing following the conclusion of the 2007 season. He will take Zaxby’s, his current sponsor, with him to Roush Fenway Racing starting in 2008.
After wrecking with each other in the closing laps Friday night, Hornaday Jr. and Skinner’s points race has widened considerably. Hornaday took a big hit and is now 57 points behind Skinner in second. Travis Kvapil remains in third after his first DNF of the season. Bodine and Crawford each moved up a position to fourth and fifth.
Johnny Benson, who suffered a blown engine on lap 87, dropped two spots to sixth. Musgrave and Crafton remain in seventh and eighth. Sprague moved up one spot to ninth, and Erik Darnell moved back into the top 10 despite not finishing the race. David Starr dropped out of the top 10 but is only 10 points behind in 11th.
“We’ve had a few of these stolen away from us here. It’s a sweet victory to come back and have something like that fall in my hands where I had a little luck. Now I can finally say I won at Texas after so many tries. I was just hoping for a top five (near the end), but if you play your cards right, sometimes it comes to you.” – Ted Musgrave
“Whatever happened, happened. I don’t want to win or lose the championship because we crashed each other. I’d hate that. It was three-wide and stuff happened. I think Ronnie got caught up in me and forgot about [McCumbee]. I don’t know if he got loose or whatever, but he ran into us there. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional. It was just good racing.” – Mike Skinner
“I just got loose under Mike. I’ll take the blame, but there’s no blame to it. We were racing for the last lap. Mike didn’t have a chance. We had the best truck out there.” Ron Hornaday
Up Next: The Craftsman Truck Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway next weekend for the Casino Arizona 150. Joe Ruttman holds the qualifying record, set in 2000, with a speed of 129.204 mph, and Benson is the defending race winner. Coverage begins Friday night at 8:30 p.m. ET on Speed. The race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.