Toyota continues its Truck Series domination Under the lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway the American Commercial Lines 200 did not disappoint. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers showed their superb skills on this chilly Georgia night. Mike Skinner’s No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota crossed the finish line first after taking the lead on the last restart on lap 122. He came into the race with the fastest truck and he dominated most of the race bringing Bill Davis Racing back into Victory Lane. All photos courtesy of Toyota
Mike Skinner started the race on the pole for the third time, and since the start of the race the action never stopped.
On the first lap the trucks got bunched up and Tyler Walker in the No. 36 360 OTC Toyota got collected in the “accordion effect” and came out with a smashed grill. The field continued to race the first lap until Chase Miller in the No. 4 Open Joist Dodge ran over the bumper bar debris left behind by Walker. Skinner led the field back to the restart after the caution. The drivers tonight were capable of using the several different grooves that the Atlanta Motor Speedway provides making great side-by-side racing throughout the event.
Todd Bodine in the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota started the race under the weather but once the race started Bodine was all business driving to the front on lap 18.
On lap 25 NASCAR issued a competition caution due to the lack of practice time the teams had on the tires. Atlanta is a very fast and competitive track and tire wear is a concern for these NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series officials and crew chiefs.
Mike Skinner and Jack Sprague got their two Toyota’s (pictured right) off pit road first after the competition caution and led the pack back to the restart. Johnny Benson in the No. 23 Exide Toyota entered the race third in the series standings but didn’t have the luck he was hoping for when he had to pull down pit road on lap 33 for engine problems. Not long after Bodine grabbed the lead from Skinner on lap 43. Benson made a second attempt at finishing the race after his crew did all they could to get him back out, now several laps down.
On lap 56, Terry Cook in the No. 59 Harris Trucking Toyota, got into the wall after cutting down a right front tire sending out the third caution of the night. Bodine brought the pack back to the start/finish line for the restart. The drivers started to jockey for position as soon as the green flag dropped getting three and four wide. It was short lived though, when David Starr in the No. 10 International/Maxx Force Diesel Ford got into Chad McCumbee driving the No. 08 GPS Store/Garmin Chevrolet sending him into the outside wall bringing out the fourth caution of the evening on lap 67.
Bodine again leads the field back to green flag racing but not long after Skinner passes Bodine on the inside to take the lead. On lap 75 the fifth caution came out caused by Joey Clanton which collected Bill Lester and Travis Kvapil, after trying to avoid the accident. Skinner then led the field to the restart and ran a few laps in the lead but Bill Lester got into another truck sending him into the wall bringing out the sixth caution.
The restart was action packed with Brendan Gaughan leading the way but AJ Allmendinger quickly stole the lead. Clint Bowyer followed and soon there after he went by and took the lead. Mike Skinner was lurking the whole time and quickly passed Bowyer for the lead then the seventh caution came out when Craig Kinser got into the wall on lap 100. Skinner led the field back to the restart but Bowyer jumped him and took the lead quickly. Then Bill Lester spins again and ends his night bringing out the eighth caution on lap 106.
Clint Bowyer in the No. 2 Camping World Chevrolet led the pack to the restart and held off Rick Crawford and Mike Skinner to lead several laps until the No. 00 driven by AJ Allmendinger spins and brings out the ninth caution – a record for the Atlanta Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
With eight laps to go Bowyer brings the field back to the restart but Skinner bumped Bowyer and got him sideways as they crossed the start/finish line. Skinner then jumps to the outside and takes the lead from there on he was home free. Driving his way to victory.
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