Trucks: Bodine Mountain Dew 250 Winner
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Polesitter Todd Bodine held off Rick Crawford in a two-lap dash to the finish Saturday to win the Mountain Dew 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race by .014 seconds.
Crawford followed Bodine for the final two laps after a restart on Lap 93 of the 94-lap event at Talladega Superspeedway and finally made his move as the trucks roared through the tri-oval with the finish line in sight. Crawford fell just short, as did Bodine's Toyota teammate, Johnny Benson, who fanned out to the inside of Bodine's No. 30 Toyota at the finish and crossed the stripe .028 seconds behind the race winner.
Jason Leffler ran fourth, followed by Dennis Setzer and rookie Willie Allen. With a seventh-place finish, Ron Hornaday Jr. seized the series points lead from Mike Skinner, who had a late-race problem with a hood pin and finished 13th. Hornaday is 14 points ahead of Skinner, marking the third time in the last four races that the championship lead has changed between the two.
"We had a great truck," Bodine said. "That truck's always been fast, but it could never lead a draft. After Daytona, the guys went to work and got it to where it could lead the draft. I knew Rick would make a move somewhere. He just came up a little short.
"I knew Rick was out there, but I couldn't see his hood, so I knew we'd won. Rick timed it just a little too late."
Under the circumstances, though, Crawford wouldn't have changed his strategy.
"I thought I made the right move," said Crawford, a Ford driver who knew he wouldn't get a push from Benson's Toyota at the finish. "If I'd have second-guessed myself and looked in my mirror, I would have done the same thing. . . I pulled out and used the side draft off of (Bodine). I was just four feet short."
A six-car wreck off Turn 4 on Lap 74 most likely ended the title hopes of Travis Kvapil, but Hornaday escaped with the points lead despite sustaining damage in the crash. Jack Sprague was leading when he cut a tire on his No. 60 Toyota, slowed and was turned back into the rest of the field by contact from Benson.
Collected in the melee were Kvapil, Ted Musgrave, Erik Darnell and Terry Cook. Hornaday's Chevy also sustained damage to the right rear, but the No. 33 crew was efficient enough in repairing the truck that Hornaday quickly returned to the top 10 in the running order. Kvapil finished 26th and is now 234 points behind Hornaday.
Skinner appeared ready to extend his advantage over Hornaday beyond the three-point margin entering the race, but the hood of the No. 5 Toyota began to buckle on Lap 89 because of a missing fastener. Fortunately for Skinner, Mike Wallace's spin on the same lap enabled Skinner's crew to fix the problem under caution, and Skinner minimized his points loss.
Jacques Villeneuve's second truck series race ended early, after a collision on Lap 54 involving Bryan Silas and T.J. Bell. Villeneuve slowed to avoid a truck entering pit road, but contact with the No. 71 Chevrolet of Silas sent his No. 27 Toyota sharply to the right and into the No. 50 Ford of Bell as the trucks were entering the tri-oval.
"There was a truck in front of me," said Villeneuve, who will make his Nextel Cup debut from the sixth starting spot in Sunday's UAW-Ford 500. "I slowed down to try to avoid him, and I got collected. I hope it won't be a repeat (Sunday)."
Kvapil restarted in the lead on Lap 61 but soon fell back to 10th as Sprague and Bodine returned to the front of the field. NASCAR called the fourth caution of the race on Lap 67, after the side window of Cale Gale's No. 2 Chevy dislodged and fell onto the racing surface in the tri-oval.