Makes Magic at Daytona International Speedway
Blue Ox couldn't have asked for a better race to kick off their
second year of involvement with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
than Friday night's event at Daytona International Speedway.
Mark Martin won the hotly contested battle on the 2.5-mile high
banks to score his second victory in just four series starts.
Martin started the pole for the series' first race of the season
and established the No. 6 Ford as the truck to beat from the
The biggest incident of the race came on Lap 72 when a pile-up
in Turn 3 claimed seven trucks and after that the competition
really heated up among the frontrunners. With the laps winding
down, the drivers traded paint two- and three-wide as they scrambled
for position. It appeared that something had to give and that
something turned out to be the No. 77 truck driven by Brendan
Gaughan. Gaughan collided with David Stremme and that brought
out the caution and set up a green/white/checker finish.
The good news for Martin was he was leading at the time. The
bad news was he had teammates Todd Bodine and Ted Musgrave lined
up right behind him. Knowing that the pair was likely to gang
up on him, Martin was determined to defend his position to the
end. Before the leader got to Turn 1 and Bodine and Musgrave
could even think about drafting their way past, Rick Crawford
hit the wall on the front stretch and NASCAR was forced to end
the race under caution.
Martin got the victory and was followed by Bodine, Musgrave,
Mike Skinner and rookie driver Erik Darnell. "I loved (Truck
Series racing) before, but I love it more now," said Martin
who led 42 of 102 laps. "You know, I know that I had my
hands full. But I sure hadn't conceded the win yet. They were
going to have to pry it out of my hands to take it."And
pry it away was exactly what Bodine had in mind.
was going for an unprecedented fourth Truck Series victory in
a row but came up one position short of making history. "There
is no doubt in my mind that we had him," said Bodine. "I
knew at the end, with my teammate behind me, he was a sitting
duck. We just needed those laps to run off, we would have been
first and second. But should have, would have, could haves.
Here we are second and third. We'll take it."
Darnell was competing in his Truck Series debut after winning
Roush Racing' recent and highly publicized driver search. Darnell
got down a lap early when his truck was running hot but was
in position for the free pass during the first caution period.
Once he got back on the lead lap, Darnell held his own against
the veterans and scored his first career top five finish. "What
an awesome run by this whole team here," said Darnell.
"This is a great way to start off the season and hopefully
it's a sign of things to come. Our biggest thing was to try
to learn and go out there and try to learn and get laps and
it ended up being so much more than that."