Martinsville, VA (Sports Network) - Mike Skinner was the fastest truck all day
long avoiding any and all problems to win his third straight Craftsman Truck
Series event. The No.5 Toyota captured Saturday's Kroger 250 from the
Martinsville Speedway crossing the finished line three lengths ahead of Todd
The victory was Skinner's third of the season and 22nd of his Craftsman
career. He is the only driver in series history to win three consecutive races
on two separate occasions. Skinner first accomplished the feat in 1996 with
wins at Tucson, Denver and Topeka.
Skinner brought the field to the green flag for 250 scheduled laps of short
track racing. Early on there was little change. Through 65 laps Skinner still
held the lead with Ted Musgrave and Rick Crawford close behind, but things
would change soon.
Harvick was weaving his way from sixth on the grid to fourth passing a pair of
former series champions in Travis Kvapil and Jack Sprague. He got around
Crawford for third place on lap 70.
Then strategy began to play out after a caution flag on lap 74, caused by Mike
Bliss, as crew chiefs gambled that they could reach the checkered flag from
there to the end.
Skinner pitted and most, but not all, came with him down pit lane. Chad
McCumbee, who had already pitted on lap 41, stayed out inheriting the lead. It
didn't take long for Skinner to retake the lead. Bodine, who took just two
tires, followed Skinner past McCumbee for second place.
Through 100 laps Skinner was proving to be too much for Bodine and the rest of
the 36-truck field. Harvick's charge had stalled and he was holding in third
place apparently waiting for the stretch run.
Skinner was expertly moving through lapped traffic and after 140 laps had
expanded his lead to more than three seconds over Bodine and Harvick.
Harvick finally tried to make a move around Bodine for second with 100 laps
remaining, but T.J. Bell spun to bring out a caution flag. Harvick hadn't yet
made the pass so he was still in third place, but the flag did erase Skinner's
On the restart with 86 laps to go, Skinner did what he had done all day -
expand his lead. With 70 laps to go he was almost two seconds ahead of second
place, but a Blake Bjorklund spin in front of the leader once again erased
Lap 207 saw Harvick go too wide on the restart. It appeared that he got bumped
from behind and he fell all the way to seventh.
So as the laps dwindled it looked like a two-man race between Skinner and
Bodine. More cautions slowed Skinner charge around the track, but each restart
saw him rebuild his lead.
The race finished with a green-white-checker, but there was no suspense and
Skinner took care of business. He crossed the finish line three lengths in
front of Bodine having led 246 of 253 laps.
"I didn't have anything for Mike," said Bodine after the race.
Crawford, Harvick and Musgrave completed the top-five.
Skinner leaves Martinsville with a 94-point lead over Bodine and 143 points
over Crawford. The next race in the series is scheduled for Saturday, April
28th at the Kansas Speedway.