Timothy Peters took the checkered flag 0.068 seconds ahead of Todd Bodine to win the NextEra Energy Resources 250 Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. Peters made a stirring last-lap pass on Bodine, holding him off through the tri-oval to score the biggest win of his career and second overall in the series.
Each Monday in the Frontstretch newsletter, Tom Bowles brings readers the “Secret Star of the Race.” This is the driver who has a great run but gets little mention on television, not getting the credit he deserves for a strong performance. Thinking about that this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, I realized that there were two “secret stars” you might not have heard about that deserve their due. There’s just one major difference for these two: they were entire races.
There are just 33 days left (and 14 races across all three series) in the 2008 NASCAR season, and we’re getting inexorably closer to the time of year the prizes are handed out. So, with a little over a month left in the season, let’s take a look at where things stand, post-Charlotte, in NASCAR’s top-three divisions.
Over the Labor Day break, Bobby Hamilton Racing-VA has closed the doors on the No. 4 Dodge until further notice, so all team efforts can be focused on the No. 18 truck driven by Dennis Setzer. Since the announcement, Stacy Compton’s No. 4 Dodge has withdrawn from this weekend’s entry list.
This weekend, the drivers of the Craftsman Truck Series head to Michigan International Speedway for the Cool City Customs 200. Of course Kyle Busch will be running all three races, but I want to ponder a hypothetical question–what if there were no more Truck Series?
Did You Notice? That one of the compelling themes in NASCAR as of late is proof of the phrase, “Nice guys finish last?” David Reutimann is the latest example; known as a man who won’t bump anyone out of the way in order to get to the front, Reutimann got loose with Clint Bowyer oh-so-close behind him in the final laps of the Nashville race on Saturday night. While Brad Keselowski went on to win, Reutimann – who had been in position to take the checkers before a late-race caution bunched up the field — fell back to a fourth-place finish on older tires.
After their 1-2 finish at Dover — the second time it’s happened in the last month — people have been quick to point to Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards as “the next great rivalry.” Do you agree with that statement, or is there another one that sticks out in your minds that’s far more combative?
Last weekend at Mansfield Motorsports Park, rookie of the year contender Donny Lia surprised himself and the world of NASCAR with his last lap pass on David Starr to score his first career Craftsman Truck Series victory in just his eighth start. When Starr took the white flag for the final half-mile around the track, his first win since 2006 seemed inevitable until heavy contact from Lia caused the truck to break loose from the driver of the No. 11 Pit-Now.com Toyota Tundra.
Did You Notice? All the talk about Nationwide Series teams looking to pull out of the series with the advent of the Car of Tomorrow? Well, it goes far beyond whether or not car owners will be able to afford the new car; frankly, the purse money for the series isn’t proving a justifiable reward for a struggling owner to stay involved.
Hold on a second here. There’s a “should” or “deserved” in racing? Not the last time I checked. To confirm, let’s review the definition of the winner in any given race: it’s the car that passes over the start/finish line before any other competitor. Now, there’s no caveats in there; it’s a black and white statement devoid of emotion and heedless of moral obligations. I will grant the possibility that NASCAR might, on the random occasion of swine gliding over Daytona, rearrange the finishing order due to some other worldly divination of the rules. But, for the most part, once those tires take the checkers, the results are set in stone.
Donny Lia took the checkered flag 0.241 seconds ahead of David Starr to win the Ohio 250 at Mansfield Motorsports Park. Lia survived a last-lap three-wide battle with Starr and Todd Bodine to score his first career Craftsman Truck Series win Saturday afternoon. Terry Cook and Mike Skinner rounded out the top five.
This is it. This is what you’ve been waiting all season for. Tonight, someone is going to be crowned the 2007 Craftsman Truck Series Champion. In the very first “battle of the grandfathers” Ron Hornaday Jr. and Mike Skinner will face off for the final time. Going into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Skinner holds only a slim 29-point advantage over Hornaday Jr.