Fontana, CA (Sports Network) - Mike Skinner took advantage of a Mark Martin
spin, with help from Ron Hornaday Jr. and went on to win Friday night's San
Bernadino County 200 at the California Speedway just outside Los Angeles. The
No.5 Toyota crossed the finish line almost one second ahead of Hornaday Jr.
The victory was Skinner's first of the season and 20th of his Craftsman
"It looked like Mark had us beat," said Skinner. "It just worked out."
Carl Edwards brought the field to the green flag to begin 100 laps of racing,
but Skinner quickly went around Edwards on the first lap for the early lead.
Edwards continued to drop and on lap eight Hornaday Jr, slipped underneath the
No.50 Roush Ford.
After just a dozen laps, Skinner had built his margin to more than two
seconds. At 20 laps it was more than three seconds.
Martin was more than six second back at the 20-lap mark, but the truck started
to "come in" and as they approached the 30-lap mark Martin cut the lead to
around four seconds. He was the only driver who was making any headway on the
On lap 30 a debris caution flag was just the excuse to send everyone down pit
lane to adjust their trucks. Martin and the No.21 Ford pit crew won the race
of pit road ahead of the No.5 Skinner crew.
But Skinner wanted nothing to do with sitting in second place and immediately
after the green flag dropped on lap 36 the Toyota dropped to the bottom of the
track and re-took the lead.
This time Skinner couldn't break away from and on lap 40 Martin powered around
the outside to again take the lead from Skinner.
At the mid-point of the 100-lap event, Martin's lead was half-a-second but a
Kraig Kinser spin brought out a second caution flag. Johnny Benson came out
pit road with the lead, he took fuel only, with Martin fourth and Skinner
Martin pulled into second behind Benson within four laps to the restart and
had the No.23 Toyota in his sights. On lap 66 Martin easily slid around the
inside of Benson.
David Starr spun on lap 70 bringing out caution flag number three and
splitting the team's strategies. Benson and Kevin Harvick came in for tires
while leader Martin and Skinner led a group that remained on the track.
Martin and Skinner quickly put more than two second between themselves and the
field. As the laps continued, Martin began to pull away from Skinner and with
15 laps to go he held almost one second on the No.5 and three seconds on third
place Ron Hornaday Jr.
One more caution flag with 12 laps to go erased Martin's big lead and set up a
10-lap shootout to the checkered flag.
Skinner jumped up as soon as the green flag dropped and got alongside Martin,
but the No.21 fought him off and maintain the top spot. As Martin came in
front of Skinner the No.5 was forced to let off the gas and the lack of
momentum cost him second place as Hornaday Jr. slipped into second place.
David Starr brought out another caution which set up a great finish between
Nextel Cup great Martin and the "King of Restarts" Hornaday Jr.
The restart came with six laps to go and as they hit the start/finish line
Hornaday Jr. hit his rear bumper and Martin was sent spinning across the
infield. Martin returned to the track in 24th place and out of contention.
Meanwhile, Skinner got around Hornaday Jr. for the lead.
"I knew to just stay in the gas," said Skinner. "We got past Ronnie before the
caution came out."
Skinner took the restart with two laps remaining and this time he didn't let
Hornaday Jr. anywhere near his rear bumper. The clean air worked well for
Skinner and he drove to the checkered flag without a challenge.
Jack Sprague, Edwards and Ted Musgrave completed the top-five.
The next race in the Craftsman Truck Series is set for Friday, March 16th at
the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Sprague and Skinner will enter the race tied for
the series lead with 355 points.