Mike Skinner Overcomes Damage to Finish Seventh at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 16, 2009) -- Mike Skinner came to Daytona International Speedway for his sixth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race at the 2.5-mile tri-oval, but Friday night's NextEra Energy Resources 250 marked his first race with Randy Moss Motorsports (RMM). Skinner and his No. 5 Exide Batteries Toyota Tundra team had high hopes of getting co-owner Randy Moss to Victory Lane for the first time as a NASCAR team owner. After consistently running in the top-10, the 1995 NCWTS Champion received damage to the right front of his Toyota, halfway through the 100-lap event. The Randy Moss Motorsports crew made repairs on pit road and Skinner wheeled the Exide Tundra to a seventh-place finish.
Skinner, who has recorded 46 poles in the NCWTS, qualified in the fifth position to start the season opener at Daytona. Within 13 laps, the Daytona Beach resident had taken over the lead and shown why he is one of the seasoned veterans in the garage. Crew chief Eric Phillips brought the No. 5 Exide Toyota to pit road for the first time on lap 33, where Skinner received fuel. On the following lap, four fresh tires were put on the truck and Skinner restarted in the tenth position. Everything seemed to be going in the team's favor, until lap 49 when a multi-truck accident occurred in the front of the field, which resulted in right front fender damage to Exide Toyota. The RMM pit crew made repairs during numerous stops and Skinner was in the 21st position when the green flag waved to restart the race on lap 56.
Proving that no amount of damage could stop the No. 5 Exide Toyota, Skinner raced his way back into the top-10 in only five laps. The seasoned veteran raced in the top-eight for the remaining 35 laps and brought home his Tundra in the seventh position.
"All of my guys on this No. 5 Exide Batteries Toyota Tundra worked extremely hard all week," said Skinner. "To get a truck together as quick as they did and to be fast is a very big accomplishment. I really think that we had a shot to finish higher than seventh, but to come home in the top-10 with a damaged truck is not bad. This is the way that we needed to start the season - if we can keep clicking off top-10 runs, we will start finishing in the top-five, and then we will be in Victory Lane. Eric (Phillips, crew chief), my guys, and I aren't satisfied with a seventh-place finish and we know that after our run tonight, we can win races."
Skinner currently sits sixth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship point standings, 44 points behind leader Todd Bodine.
Mike Skinner and the No. 5 Exide Batteries Toyota Tundra team will be back in action this Saturday afternoon, February 21st at Auto Club Speedway in California. Skinner, an Ontario, California native, won at his home-state track in 2007.