Busch Victorious At Phoenix; Skinner's Lead Dwindles
Kyle Busch won his second NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race of the season and the sixth of his career Friday night in the Casino Arizona 150, as runner-up Ron Hornaday trimmed Mike Skinner's lead in the championship battle from 57 points to 29.
In a race interrupted by a track record 13 cautions and two red-flag periods, Busch crossed the finish line .479 seconds ahead of Hornaday, who posted his 13th top-five finish of the season.
Skinner came home eighth after his teammate, Johnny Benson, passed him for position in the closing laps. That pass cost Skinner four points and rankled the series leader, who thought Benson was helping to protect him from being passed.
"I guess we're not a team," a disgruntled Skinner said after the race. "I thought he (Benson) was taking care of me. . . I really don't want to comment on it. We'll go to Homestead, and hammer down."
Mike Bliss ran third, followed by Jason Leffler, Kevin Harvick, Todd Bodine, Benson and Skinner. Skinner lost 15 positions during a slow pit stop on Lap 44 and could only work is way back to eighth by the end of the race.
"Track position meant everything tonight," said Hornaday, who rubbed Bliss after a restart with six laps to go to gain the second position. "But when Busch beat us out of the pits, we couldn't do anything with
Busch was happy to have finished ahead of both Hornaday and Skinner, in that he didn't have a material effect on the points race.
"I'm just glad I didn't finish between them -- that would have sucked," Busch said. "They can have their points race. I just take their wins away."
With Busch in the lead and Bliss and Hornaday chasing, NASCAR red-flagged the race for the second time on Lap 138 after Andy Lally knocked a hole in the inside frontstretch wall.
Lally was an innocent victim of contact between the trucks of Jacques Villeneuve and Stacy Compton, which sent Compton's No. 09 Ford spinning sideways across the track and into Lally's No. 00 Toyota. The driver's side of Lally's truck slammed into the inside wall. After climbing from his crippled Tundra, Lally was transported to a local hospital where he is being held overnight for further evaluation.
NASCAR halted the race to repair the wall with Hornaday third in the running order and Skinner eighth. The race restarted on Lap 141, and after a subsequent caution for debris, Hornaday passed Bliss to secure the second spot.