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Musgrave wins wild truck race

A happy Ted Musgrave

The bizarre Silverado 350K NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway ended under caution Friday night with Ted Musgrave the race winner and Mike Skinner enjoying an uncharacteristically comfortable cushion over Ron Hornaday in the battle for the series championship.

Both Musgrave and Skinner survived a multi-truck wreck in the first corner on an attempted green-white-checkered-flag restart on Lap 148, when leader Chad McCumbee spun his tires approaching the start/finish line and then attempted to block Jack Sprague, who was running second.

McCumbee spun after contact with Sprague's Toyota, and both trucks hit the outside wall. Rick Crawford, Terry Cook and Erik Darnell also were collected in the wreck, which brought out the seventh and final caution of the race.

Brendan Gaughan was second, and Skinner eluded the spinning trucks to finish third. Mike Bliss came home fourth, followed by Crawford. Skinner left Texas with a 57-point lead over Hornaday, who finished 18th after an earlier wreck that involved both his truck and Skinner's.

"I just tried to keep my head up and my nose clean, because I knew something was going to happen," said Musgrave, who was right about the carnage to follow. Musgrave claimed his 17th win in the series and broke a 66-race winless streak dating to 2005.

"I was thinking about making the high line move when I saw Chad spinning the wheels (on the restart)," Musgrave said. "When I saw them (McCumbee and Sprague) get together, I knew it was going to get bigger and bigger and bigger -- and it did."

A restart with four laps remaining in the 147-lap event scrambled the running order and gave Skinner breathing room in the race for the title. Hornaday and Skinner ran side-by-side through the first two turns, but McCumbee powered off Turn 2 and dived below the Skinner and Hornaday into the lead.

That's when the back of Hornaday's Chevrolet began to slide up the track. Before Hornaday could regain control, his truck clipped Skinner's Toyota, sending both spinning. A broadside hit from Matt Crafton severely wounded Hornaday's Chevy, but Skinner survived with flat-spotted tires and minor damage to the right rear of his Tundra.

NASCAR red-flagged the race for 15 minutes to clean up the debris from the wreck, which also damaged the trucks of Musgrave, Willie Allen and Darnell.

"It was a crazy, crazy race," said Skinner, who was happy to have survived the wreck in better condition than his rival. "We jumped up on the outside there, and we had good momentum. I think Ron was focused more on me than running on the inside, and he opened the door for Chad McCumbee. I don't know exactly what happened, but I was hit and spun around, and I ended up better off than the 33."

Hornaday took a one-lap penalty for moving up to pit under the red flag to give his crew a chance to examine the damage to his truck.

After pitting for two tires and splash of fuel on Lap 129 of the scheduled 147-lap event, Hornaday held a 4.5-second lead before Travis Kvapil blew a right rear tire and hit the wall out of Turn 4, bringing out the fifth caution of the race.

That bunched the field for the restart on Lap 144 with Hornaday in the lead and Skinner running second. Out of the second corner after the restart, both the race and the championship picture changed dramatically.

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