10/20/2007
Martinsville Speedway Makes A Winner Out of Skinner

The tiny Martinsville Speedway hosted a wild and wacky Craftsman Truck Series race on Oct. 20 and it was Mike Skinner who was able to cash in on his sixth victory of the season.

Jack Sprague won the pole and led the first 26 laps before the first caution of the race sent most of the field to pit road for what would be the only pit stop of the afternoon. Terry Cook and his team gambled that there would be plenty more caution laps and stayed out to inherit the lead.

Cook held the point until Lap 135 when Skinner took over and after that, out front was definitely the place to be.

The final 65 laps saw six more cautions and with just seven laps to go a massive pile-up on the front stretch wiped out seven trucks and forced NASCAR officials to throw the red flag.

When the race resumed there were only three laps to go but they still weren’t done wrecking. As field circled the track for the final time, another multi-truck crash broke out in Turn 4 when Matt Crafton and Ron Hornaday got together while battling for third.

“The No. 60 (Sprague) was the best truck on the long green,” said Skinner, who leads all drivers with three series victories at Martinsville. “But those cautions kept flying and we came out victorious. If we wouldn’t have won then I think he would have and he did an awesome job running us clean. I owe a lot to him.”

Sprague reached a personal milestone with his 400th NASCAR start and was hoping to repeat his winning performance of a year ago at the tricky short track. Instead he was forced to settle for second.

“I was definitely faster (than Skinner),” Sprague confirmed. “It just took my truck a little longer to get going and I just wasn’t willing to wreck Mike for the win.”
Hornaday hung on to finish third but still lost the points lead to Skinner despite his strong run.

"We just came through it, that is all I can say,” Hornaday remarked. “We were just so tight up off the corner. On that last restart, I told Jack (Sprague) he was going to have to go to the outside because Skinner was stopping us in corners and I was running fourth or fifth and we were playing bumper tag out there. He only shot we had was going to the outside and I did and picked up a couple of spots.”

The tussle for the series title will resume next weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway where Skinner will defend his slim 14-point margin over Hornaday.