10/6/07

Bodine Wins Three-Way Battle at Tough Talladega

The Craftsman Truck Series makes a habit of thrilling the fans with exciting side-by-side finishes and the Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway was no exception.

The race came down to a two-lap sprint and the frontrunners played follow the leader behind Todd Bodine right up until they came off Turn 4 for the final time. That was when Rick Crawford took the high line and Johnny Benson took the low line in a three-wide scramble for the start/finish line that saw Bodine edge his opponents by a teeny, tiny 0.014-second.

The victory was vindication of sorts for Bodine, who lost last year’s race at the behemoth 2.66-mile superspeedway when he was black-flagged for passing below the yellow line with four laps to go. This time Bodine avoided the yellow line and the numerous crashes to score his second victory of the season.

“I can’t believe it,” said Bodine. “I’ve run so many races here and been in that kind of situation and never won. This truck was just so good. I’m just the lucky guy driving. I knew Rick (Crawford) really had a good truck even though he was kind of sand bagging all day.”

Crawford was on the winning side of a similar situation at Daytona in 2003 and he knew that he waited just a bit too long to make his move.

“It was close,” Crawford noted. “I’ve been on both sides now. I’ve won pulling a move like that and I’ve finished second pulling a move like that. I missed it by about four feet. (Bodine) should have won last year and maybe he got what he deserved by winning today.”

Mike Skinner led nine laps but was plagued by a loose hood late in the race. That drew the black flag but before Skinner could get to the pits the caution came out for the final time with Mike Wallace’s spin. Skinner’s crew was able to secure the hood under caution but their driver only had enough time to battle back to 13th place.

Skinner’s trouble was Ron Hornaday’s gain as Hornaday was able to retake the point lead with his seventh place finish.

"It was wild,” Hornaday said. “Our truck is more tore up on the sides than it is anywhere else cause the guys kept wanting to run you down. I didn't know if I was going to run in the back there or in the front. With five races remaining, it's going to come down to being consistent."
The Craftsman Truck Series will take next weekend off before heading to Martinsville Speedway where Hornaday will defend his 14-point lead.