Skinner Soars to NCTS Kentucky Victory in the "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers"
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series leader Mike Skinner and his No. 5 Toyota Tundra led a series track record 135 race laps at Kentucky Speedway tonight in front of 49,161 fans en route to taking a 5.570- second victory over Travis Kvapil and the No. 6 K&N Filters Ford in the "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers."
"I had dominant truck. You always wait for something to happen but it didn't," Skinner said. "We tried to slow down, stay clean and run a half second ahead of the second-place truck. It was perfect. We could handle in the corner and stay out in front and that makes a driver's job easier. We've got plenty of poles (seven), but we needed a win. We needed a Top 5 tonight and we got it done."
Skinner qualified fourth and took the race lead for the first time on Lap 3. He would go on to hold point for three extended race segments. He lost the lead briefly during a pit stop that followed the final caution period of the race on Lap 100, but needed only five laps to overtake the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota of Todd Bodine in the backstretch. Skinner reported that his team made no adjustments on his truck throughout the night outside of changing tires and adding fuel.
"My spotter said to be cautious and patient (on the final restart) because there was still a long way to go," Skinner said. "I don't think the No. 30 had any tires and I think we might have been a little better than them tonight anyway; but Todd didn't try to hold us up a bit and we'll do the same for him when the shoe is on the other foot."
Following the pass, the 1995 series champion set his No. 5 on a rail and led the closing 46 laps. He sealed his fourth win of the season and now owns a total of 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes through 13 events this season. The victory also helps Skinner extend his lead in the series standings 61 markers to 164 over 2006 Kentucky series race winner Ron Hornaday, Jr., who placed 10th tonight with his 12th top-10 finish of the season.
"It's awfully early and we can't let up," Skinner said. "We have to keep racing. If we continue to try to get better, Toyota is going to have a great (championship) run."
Kvapil, the 2003 series champion, posted his second straight top-five finish following his June 30 win at Memphis Motorsports Park. He maintained the fourth position in the series standings with his fifth top-five and eighth top-10 finish of the season.
"I'm happy with second. I'm disappointed in the overall point battle because the leader kicked our tails," Kvapil said. "I knew my only shot was on the (last) restart because I saw how strong Mike was on the long runs. I was able to get under him, but couldn't pull the pass off. I tried to be smooth and consistent to protect second when I knew I couldn't catch Mike."
Ted Musgrave, the 2005 series title winner, drove home third in his No. 9 ASE Toyota, pole award winner Ryan Mathews finished fourth in the No. 22 Bill Davis Racing Toyota and Kentucky native David Green completed the Top Five in his first series start of the season in the No. 1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota.
"It is frustrating to see a truck drive away like Mike's did," Musgrave said. "It's almost like your heart falls out; thinking to yourself that there's nothing that you can do to catch him. But you can't give up because something like a flat tire can change everything. The team gave me a top-five truck, but I wish I could've won one here." Kentucky Speedway will close its 2007 season with IndyCar and Indy Pro Series action Aug. 10-11. The fifth 2007 event weekend begins with "Radio Disney AM 680 Fanfest" featuring series practice sessions, a driver autograph session and family activities on Friday. Saturday's "Meijer Indy 300 Presented by Coca-Cola and Edy's" will be preceded by a prerace concert with Radio Disney favorites Jonas Brothers and a full day of family activities. The first 3,000 children age 12 and younger that enter the gates on August 11 will receive a free collectible Kentucky Speedway Horsepower mascot bobblehead doll.
Tickets for both events are available and can be reserved online at http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com, by phone at 888-652-RACE, through Tickets.com and Tickets.com outlets including area Meijer stores and through Kentucky Speedway ticket offices located at 400 Buttermilk Pike, Suite 100 in Ft. Mitchell, Ky., next to Montgomery Inn or the track Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N in Sparta, Ky.
Story by Mike Schmaltz
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