Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - Travis Kvapil fought off all challengers down
the stretch and captured Saturday night's Smith's Las Vegas 350 Craftsman
Truck Series race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The No.6 Roush Fenway
Racing Ford driver crossed the finish line about eight lengths ahead of Johnny
The victory was Kvapil's fourth of the season and ninth of his truck career.
Pole winner Kvapil brought the field to the green flag for 146 laps of racing,
but it was Mike Skinner who led the first lap. Kvapil was not ready to settle
for second though and retook the lead. Then on lap 26 Todd Bodine slid past
Kvapil for the lead and he was still there when three-time series champion
Jack Sprague slammed the outside wall to bring out the caution flag on lap 32.
Skinner had fallen all the way to ninth after he radioed that he had a tire
going down and he was just trying to hang on until the next caution. But once
he got four good tires on his truck he began the slow climb back towards the
Bodine was still the leader when the field hit lap 46 - 100 laps remaining.
The No.30 Germain Toyota was trying to put some distance between himself and
Kvapil and it was three-quarters of a second on lap 56.
Also in the mix was Benson, who sat in third. Benson wasn't content to ride
along there so he made the inside move on Kvapil and took second place from
the No.6 Ford.
Meanwhile, Skinner and Ron Hornaday Jr. battled each other in the "race-
within-the-race" for the championship. After riding side-by-side for three
laps, Hornaday Jr.'s inside line got him the position.
By the mid-point, Benson had gotten around Bodine and was the new leader.
Bodine seemed to be trying to save his tires and Jon Wood made his way around
both Kvapil and Bodine and into second place. He was the fastest truck on the
track, but still more than one second behind Benson.
However, Benson was being slowed by lapped trucks and it allowed Wood to catch
him and when he got the chance he slid to the bottom of the track and became
the new race leader.
On lap 86, Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan slammed the outside wall to bring
out the caution flag and the teams prepared for their final stops of the
Wood won the race of pit road followed by Benson, Kvapil and Terry Cook. The
green flag dropped but only for a lap and then Bodine and Stacy Compton got
together sending the No.09 spinning to slow the action once again.
The race restarted with 46 laps remaining to be run and Wood, Benson and
Kvapil broke away from field. But still more caution flags made the race
On the next restart it was Wood and Benson getting away, while Kvapil and
Hornaday Jr. were wrapped up in a tight battle for third place. Meanwhile,
Skinner's truck was way too loose and he was backing up, fading outside the
Kvapil fought off Hornaday Jr., and blazed a trail up to the leaders. He
caught Benson with 17 laps to go and made the move past him for second place.
Just a couple of laps later he flew around the outside of Wood for the lead.
Disaster struck Hornaday Jr. with 12 laps to go as his right-front tire
exploded bringing out the caution flag and drastically changing the
Hornaday Jr.'s crew struggled to fix his truck and he fell off the lead lap
and out of the championship lead.
The race restarted and Wood immediately went to the inside for the lead. They
were side-by-side, but Kvapil wouldn't yield and he kept the lead. Now Benson
made a move and he got around Wood, but he too couldn't complete the pass.
Benson tried again with five laps to go and he nosed his truck ahead as they
went across the start/finish line, but Kvapil was just too strong and fought
him off one more time.
This time Kvapil opened up a margin on Benson and he took it all the way to
the checkered flag without any more challenges. Skinner finished 13th and
Hornaday Jr. finished 22nd giving Skinner a three-point lead heading to the
next race - at Talladega on Saturday, October 6th.