Hampton, GA (Sports Network) - Mike Skinner won Friday night's American
Commercial Lines 200 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The No.5 Toyota crossed
the finish line seven lengths ahead of runner-up Todd Bodine.
The victory was Skinner's second of the season and 21st of his truck career.
Mike Skinner brought the field to the green flag for 130 laps of side-by-side
racing. He led more than the opening lap, keeping control of the race until
lap 17 when 2006 series champion Todd Bodine slipped underneath Skinner for
After 20 laps two other cars were also on the move: Kraig Kinser (third) and
Matt Crafton (fourth). Crafton had started 17th and was putting up laps equal
Following a "competition caution" on lap 28 (due to a lack of practice time),
Skinner's pit crew got him out first.
Meanwhile, lap 37 saw last year's runner-up and current third-place contender
Johnny Benson coast into the pits with an engine problem ending his day.
Bodine retook the lead shortly after the green flag to restart the race.
Through the halfway point and it was still Bodine leading Jack Sprague and
Skinner. Skinner came back on lap 70 ducked to the bottom of the track through
the tri-oval for the lead. It seemed that Bodine was content to run in second
and save his truck for late in the race.
A caution flag with 45 laps to go set the field up for mass confusion. Some
drivers stayed out for position while most of the leaders pitted for fuel and
On the restart, A.J. Allmendinger held the lead, but Skinner and Bodine, fifth
and sixth on the restart, were charging. Sprague was not among the contenders
because on the restart he had transmission problems.
Lap 98 saw Kinser spin and hit the wall to bring out another caution flag and
end an impressive run.
Skinner emerged from the smoke with the lead and 22 laps to the checkered
flag. Clint Bowyer, making a rare appearance in a truck, was second and Bodine
was still lurking in the top-five.
On the restart both Bowyer and Rick Crawford slid past Skinner and Bodine took
the opportunity to do the same thing. Then another caution flag.
The race would come down to an 16-lap shootout.
Bowyer got the jump on the restart, but Skinner and Bodine caught him within a
lap. Bodine was looking high and low to find a spot around Skinner, but
couldn't find one.
A record ninth caution flag (Allmendinger) set up a very short finishing run.
Bowyer didn't get as good a restart this time and Skinner nudged him pulling
his Toyota around the outside for the lead. Bowyer fell all the way to seventh
and with two laps remaining it was Skinner and Bodine.
Skinner's lead was eight lengths as they saw the white flag signifying one lap
to go and he made no mistakes en route to the victory.
"He did what he had to do to win," said Bowyer who didn't seem angry about the
Crafton, Crawford and Bowyer completed the top-five.
Skinner will take a 64-point lead over Bodine to the next race in the series
which is set for Saturday, March 31st in Martinsville, VA.