Talladega, AL (Sports Network) - Todd Bodine held off a last corner charge
from Rick Crawford and Johnny Benson to capture Saturday's Mountain Dew 250
Craftsman Truck Series race at the Talladega Superspeedway. The No.30 Germain
Toyota crossed the finish line 0.014 seconds ahead of Crawford.
The victory was Bodine's second of the season and 12th of his truck career.
Bodine brought the field to the green flag for 94 laps of tight side-by-side
racing. Early on Jack Sprague, who started second, took the lead from Bodine
and the two stayed at the top of the charts through the first two pit stops.
Meanwhile, points leader Mike Skinner, who had made an additional early pit
stop, was in 21st place and working his way towards the leaders. By lap 20,
the No.5 Toyota cracked the top-five and was back in the battle.
Of course, this was Talladega and there were 18 drivers within one second of
the lead all racing three-wide and changing positions many times per lap.
That's what makes the superspeedway a fan favorite and frequently a
Bodine and Sprague were still one-two at the midpoint of the race.
A crash on lap 54 (third caution of the day) set everyone up for their final
When they came back on the track Travis Kvapil was the new leader. Sprague was
second and Benson was third. Championship leader Skinner was sixth and the man
just three points behind him entering the race, Ron Hornaday Jr. was right in
front of him in fifth.
Two laps later Sprague led a charge around the outside of Kvapil and grabbed
the lead. Benson followed Sprague and slipped into second and Kvapil was
forced all the way back to third place.
On lap 66 a caution flag for debris slowed the field and gave everyone a
chance to breath before the final wild ride to the checkered flag.
On the restart Rick Crawford and Erik Darnell thundered past the leaders on
the outside. Sprague and Benson returned the favor one lap later.
But Sprague, who had some right-front tire smoke, suddenly spun in turn four
of lap 66 while leading and the "Big One" was on. Kvapil, Darnell, Terry Cook
and a dozen others were collected in the mess, but Skinner somehow avoided
everything and was in great shape to expand his lead.
Hornaday Jr. had minimal damage and would return to the track, but Kvapil was
done for the day and probably lost any chance at a championship.
"One of the tires went down...and the guys behind me had nowhere to go," said
Sprague. "I couldn't signal because I was too busy trying to save the truck."
They restarted with 16 laps to go and Skinner was the new leader with Bodine
and Kyle Busch behind him. They lasted one lap before Josh Wise brought out
another caution flag in turn three.
The race would restart with 12 laps remaining and just 17 trucks on the lead
lap. Bodine moved to the top of the track and had the horsepower to take the
lead with 11 laps to go. Mike Wallace was second and Hornaday Jr. was third
with just 10 laps remaining.
Skinner's hood pin broke and his hood was flapping in the wind with six laps
to go. But Wallace spun to bring out a caution flag and it saved Skinner's
season. NASCAR was already black-flagging him as the yellow started to wave
and the result was that the No.5 would remain on the lead lap.
The green flag dropped with two laps to go. Bodine took off and Crawford
stayed right with him. They stayed in line as they saw the white flag. They
were still all in line as they went into turn three. Crawford slid to the
outside as Bodine protected the yellow line and the bottom line was the winner
by less than half-a-truck length.
Hornaday Jr. finished seventh, Skinner 13th, so Hornaday Jr. will take a 14-
point lead to the next event.
The next race is scheduled for Saturday, October 20th at Martinsville.