Makes it a Win From the Pole at Talladega
The Craftsman Truck Series’ inaugural
race at Talladega Superspeedway delivered all the excitement
promised and up until the final lap of competition it was relatively
trouble-free. The result sheet shows that Mark Martin won the
94-lap race from the pole but that hardly tells the whole story.
After leading the first six laps, the nose of Martin’s
truck picked up a piece of debris and he was forced to pit road
to keep the engine from overheating.
The unscheduled stop caused Martin to lose a lap to the leaders
but he was in position to collect the free pass when the caution
flew on Lap 23 for debris on the track. It took Martin most
of the rest of the race and a fuel only stop just past halfway
to get back to the lead and that was where he stayed until Todd
Bodine made his bid for the victory with nine laps to go. Unfortunately
for Bodine NASCAR declared that he went below the yellow line
to advance his position and the series point leader was black-flagged
for a pass through penalty.
A final caution set up an 11-lap sprint to the finish and when
a crash broke out on the final lap Martin sailed on to victory
and left NASCAR to sort out the rest of the running order. “The
race was really going to get interesting there before the crash
happened,” said Martin, who has won half of the ten races
he’s started this season. “If that wouldn't have
happened, it was going to be interesting getting back to the
start-finish line. It was just one of those great days. We dodged
a bullet early in the race there with overheating and got that
cleaned up and were able to make it back.”
Upon much further review it was finally determined that Mike
Skinner finished second followed by Ted Musgrave, Bodine and
AJ Allmendinger in just his second career start. “It’s
an interpretation of a rule and everybody’s going to see
it different,” said Bodine. “I saw it as a clean
pass but it was a judgment call. It could have been a real bad
day in the points, but it tuned out to be a good day.”
Bodine gained 30 points on Johnny Benson, who finished tenth.
After taking next weekend off Bodine will defend his 121-point
advantage with some short track racing at Martinsville Speedway.