Kvapil Wins NCTS Michigan 200 BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Travis Kvapil won the pole in the morning and the Craftsman Trucks Series race in the afternoon Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. But it was nowhere near as easy as it sounds. In between, he had to outlast a stronger truck and outdrive four others every bit as fast as he was.
Mark Martin, who started next to Kvapil on the front two, dominated the first half of the race, leading 36 of the first 48 laps before the engine in his Wood Brothers Racing truck quit. “Martin was the class of the field today. He was gone,” Kyle Busch said. “Nobody could touch him.”
Martin’s departure set up a spirited battle over the last 80 miles, and the winner wasn’t decided until the last three. With 40 laps to go, Mike Skinner, Busch and Kvapil dodged, weaved and traded the lead, each taking a different route around the track. They entered the corners up near the wall but spread out to manage the turns.
As those three drivers battled for the lead, Brendan Gaughan – who later said he had a winning truck but lost the event because of one bad move -- caught them with 30 laps to go and joined the fun. Ted Musgrave joined the party with 28 laps to go. Lap times suggested the trucks were evenly matched.
But over the last 10 laps, it was a battle between Busch and Kvapil. Busch’s truck was fish-tailing so badly he could hardly keep it on the track. Kvapil had several chances to take the lead, but he bided his time -- he certainly didn’t want to get too close to Busch because the closer he got the more Busch’s truck would wiggle, which at some point would take them both out of the race. Busch acknowledged he wasn’t as aggressive as he otherwise would have been because the truck was so tough to control.
Kvapil waited until the end of the next to last lap before passing Busch. Kvapil didn’t want to make the pass too early because that would give Busch a chance to collect himself and go back after him.
Kvapil might have been overly cautious; Busch had nothing left over the last lap, and Kvapil won by several truck lengths. Gaughan finished third, Skinner fourth and Musgrave fifth. Kvapil’s win, his first of the season, was the 15th at Michigan for team owner Jack Roush.
Series points leader Mike Skinner extended his streak of leading a lap and finishing in the top 10 to 10 -- every race this season.
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