Frontstretch’s Truck Series content is presented by American Trucks
In a Nutshell: Todd Bodine took the checkered flag 0.074 seconds ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr. to win the Mountain Dew 250 presented by Toyota Saturday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway. Bodine took the lead in the final turn on the last lap to win his third consecutive superspeedway race. Kyle Busch, Colin Braun and Mike Wallace rounded out the top five.
Who Should Have Won: Darnell. Darnell ran sixth quickest in the final practice session and started on the pole, with teammates John Wes Townley and Braun right there with him. Within the last 15 laps, Darnell got out of line, went four wide and ended up losing several positions, dashing any hopes of a visit to victory lane. Darnell led a total of 48 laps but only ended up finishing 12th.
Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race
1. How did Joey Logano fare in his Craftsman Truck Series debut?
After two lackluster starts in the Sprint Cup series, Logano made his Craftsman Truck Series debut at Talladega. Logano ran 16th quickest in the first practice session, and improved to 15th quickest in the final practice. The driver of the No. 59 Team ASE/Harris Trucking Toyota managed to qualify sixth.
By the time the first caution flag fell for debris on lap 1, Logano had dropped back to 10th. The second caution came out on lap 19 because the window from the No. 59 Toyota flew out onto the track, along with a chunk of sheet metal from his truck. Logano lost four laps while his crew made repairs; he went on to finish 26th, five laps down.
To say the least, Logano’s debut in the Truck Series is one he’d probably like to forget. Had he not had trouble with his window, the day could have turned out differently. Early in the race, Logano was out of contention before he had a real chance to show what he could do. It would be great to see Logano finish out the season behind the wheel of the No. 59 Toyota.
2. What happened to Jack Sprague?
Just 15 laps into the running of the Mountain Dew 250, Sprague slowed on the track with an apparent motor problem, and the team never managed to catch back up. By the time they figured out what the problem was and got the truck back on the track, Sprague was already two laps down.
With 27 laps remaining, Sprague was racing three wide and moved low on the track. Busch was there, and it looked like Sprague turned hard into the outside wall to avoid causing a big wreck. The damage to the No. 2 American Commercial Lines Chevrolet proved terminal, and Sprague was credited with a 27th-place finish.
“I was down a cylinder. I don’t know. Apparently Kyle was under me and I didn’t get the word,” Sprague said. “It’s been an absolutely horrible year.”
Sprague remains in eighth in the standings but is now more than 500 points out of the top spot.
3. Did NASCAR make the right call to not throw the caution on the last lap?
After the white flag flew, there was a huge wreck on the backstretch, but NASCAR chose not to throw the yellow flag. At first, it was expected that the yellow would fly and the race would end. But further review of what happened showed NASCAR made the correct call.
There have been some questionable calls on cautions not being thrown when they should have, or ones being thrown when the field could have easily kept racing without any danger. In this case, NASCAR made the right decision. The wreck happened toward the back of the pack, and the trucks involved didn’t block the racing surface for the leaders. By allowing the race to end under green, NASCAR allowed the fans to see an exciting finish.
Truck Rookie Report
2008 Rookie of the Year Candidates:
Colin Braun (No. 6)
Andy Lally (No. 7 – left the ride in midsummer)
Donny Lia (No. 71 – now No. 81 for rest of the season)
Justin Marks (No. 9 – left the ride in September)
Marc Mitchell (No. 15)
Phillip McGilton (No. 22 – replaced by Scott Speed at Kansas)
Brian Scott (No. 16)
No. of Rookies in the Race: 3
No. of Rookies to Finish in the Top 10: 2; Braun, finished fourth and Scott, finished seventh
Rookie of the Race: Braun, finished fourth
Braun lost a right-rear tire with just 11 laps remaining, but managed to come back and lead the pack when the white flag flew.
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle
Lia is expected to finish out the remainder of the season in the No. 81 Chevrolet for Randy Moss Motorsports.
For the first time in the history of the CTS, three teammates started in the top-three positions. Roush Racing teammates Darnell, Townley and Braun led the field to the the green flag.
The field made their first ever green-flag pit stops at Talladega with very little incident. However, Bodine sent Townley spinning near the entrance of pit road after running into the back of the No. 09 truck.
The CTS now has a new points leader; Hornaday leads Johnny Benson by 39 points with just five races remaining in the season. Matt Crafton remains in third but lost ground on the leaders – he sits 218 points out of first and has his work cut out for him. Bodine’s win propelled him up three spots to fourth and Darnell, who dropped one spot, rounds out the top five.
Mike Skinner and Rick Crawford dropped one position each and now sit in sixth and seventh, respectively. The rest of the top 10 remain unchanged. Sprague in eighth leads Dennis Setzer by just 14 points, while Terry Cook rounds out the top 10, 567 points behind the leader.
“I didn’t know what to think. I knew if we could get ourselves position at the right spot at the end of the race, we’d have a chance. I knocked [Kyle Busch] sideways and went on to the win. That’s not what I was trying to do. It’s a good thing he’s a great driver, because he was able to save it. I gotta thank all the fans – great crowd here today. Hope it was good TV.” – Todd Bodine
“I was just holding on to the truck. [Bodine] ended up in front of me, and I pushed him to the win. We’ll take a second. That feels like a win here at Talladega to me.” – Ron Hornaday Jr.
“[Todd] Bodine’s truck was really strong. He was the best Toyota we had out there today. Unfortunately, he got into me there and got me a little loose. We’ll take third at Talladega.” – Kyle Busch
Up Next: The Craftsman Truck Series takes a week off and heads to Martinsville Speedway for the Kroger 200 on Saturday, October 18th. In 2007, Skinner took the checkered flag ahead of Sprague as the field wrecked behind them. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on SPEED; the race can also be heard on your local MRN affiliate.