Skinner puts Toyota on top again
Mike Skinner outdueled Erik Darnell on a green-white-checkered finish to win Saturday night's Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
|Mike Skinner was all smiles after winning Saturday's Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The win was Skinner's first since Martinsville in October 2007.|
Running second, Skinner's Bill Davis Racing Toyota bumped Darnell's Roush Fenway Racing Ford on the final restart and went to the outside in Turn 1. Skinner cleared Darnell entering Turn 3 and took the lead for the 147th lap, one over the scheduled distance on the 1.5-mile track.
Darnell went to the outside in Turn 3 and briefly went into the lead exiting Turn 4. But Skinner won the drag race to the checkered flag, arriving .020 seconds -- less than half a truck length -- ahead.
Skinner's victory was his first of the season and 25th of his NCTS career.
"I had one shot and I had to take advantage of it," Skinner said. "I had to fake to the bottom and go around the outside. I wasn't going to wreck him. We bumped him and had a little momentum, an old trick Dale Earnhardt taught me. The 5 truck is back."
Darnell had led 42 straight laps and held the lead through five restarts before the green-white-checkered.
Championship leader Johnny Benson finished 27th and had his points advantage trimmed to one over Ron Hornaday Jr., who finished fifth. Six races remain in the 2008 season.
Benson's Bill Davis Racing Toyota was leading when a right-front tire went down and he hit the wall in Turn 1 on Lap 65. Benson led 26 laps total, including the nine right before the crash.
Benson was on the tires he'd started the race with when he crashed, but he didn't believe that was a factor in the wreck. He'd taken the lead on a gas-only stop on Lap 25 when most of the trucks were taking at least two tires.
"The truck was perfect," Benson said. "It was just flawless. I'm still surprised that happened. We did have some laps on the tires, but not enough that (that) should happen."
Matt Crafton finished third in ThorSport Racing's Chevrolet. John Andretti was fourth in the Billy Ballew Motorsports' Toyota in his first NCTS race of the season.
Darnell led the most laps, 56.
"He (Skinner) definitely pushed me before we got into Turn 1," Darnell said. "I was going to protect the bottom the whole way. I had a pretty good start, but he got me in the left corner and got a run down the backstraight."