Fontana: Mike Skinner race report

Tire Problems Cause Mike Skinner to Finish 11th in California FONTANA, Calif. (February 23, 2009) -- Mike Skinner returned to his home-state of California, hoping to put his No. 5 Exide Batteries Toyota Tundra in Victory Lane and record Randy...

Tire Problems Cause Mike Skinner to Finish 11th in California

FONTANA, Calif. (February 23, 2009) -- Mike Skinner returned to his home-state of California, hoping to put his No. 5 Exide Batteries Toyota Tundra in Victory Lane and record Randy Moss Motorsports' first win with co-owner Randy Moss. Skinner, a former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) winner at Auto Club Speedway, knew he had the crew and truck capable of winning at the 2.0-mile speedway, but after spending 85 laps in the top-six positions, tire issues caused the 1995 Truck Series Champion to finish in the 11th position during Saturday afternoon's San Bernardino County 200.

After starting the 100-lap race from the fifth position, Skinner quickly found the No. 5 Exide Toyota consistently battling with other NCWTS veterans and solidly running in the top-six positions for three-fourths of the race. The first caution of the afternoon came out on lap 25 as Skinner and fellow competitor Brian Scott made contact, sending Scott into the wall and causing fender damage on Skinner's Toyota. Crew chief Eric Phillips called Skinner to pit road to repair the damage, as well as take four fresh tires and fuel under the caution period. The former NCWTS Champion restarted from the sixth position on lap 31.

As soon as the green flag waved, Skinner moved up into the third position, where he ran until the second and final caution of the race came out on lap 44. With the new pit rules in the NCWTS, Phillips decided to only make one pit stop and take gas to keep the track position that Skinner had gained. Skinner rejoined the field in the second position and steadily made his way around the California track as the field spread out and ran under a long green-flag period.

The No. 5 Exide Toyota looked as if it was going to come home with a top-three finish, when Skinner radioed to his team that the right front tire was worn out to the cords and getting ready to blow out. Skinner brought his truck down pit road on lap 86 to take on right side tires only and went back out on the track in the 13th position. Phillips had to call Skinner back to pit road on lap 91 for fuel to be able to complete the final nine laps of competition. Despite all of the obstacles that the Randy Moss Motorsports team had to overcome, Skinner wheeled his Tundra to an 11th-place finish.

"We had a really, really good Exide Toyota Tundra today -- we were good," said Skinner. "We had a tire come apart so we had to pit and that's what got us back here. The on-track incident (at the beginning of the race) was a young rookie acting stupid, and wasn't clear and just kept coming up to the wall. It was either him or us and when we got together I first tried to get off of him and my truck kind of wiggled and I was like; 'I'm not going to hit the wall because he was stupid.' So, we just went on. But overall, I'm proud of the effort that Eric (Phillips, crew chief) and all of my guys put into this weekend. We kept working on the truck and making it better as we went on. This No. 5 Exide Toyota will continue to be a contender for wins and we'll head back and prepare for Atlanta."

Skinner currently sits in the seventh position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship point standings, four points out of fifth-place and 89 points behind leader and race-winner Kyle Busch.

Mike Skinner and the No. 5 Exide Batteries team will take a well-deserved week off before heading to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the running of the American Commercial Lines 200 on Saturday, March 7, 2009.

-credit: rmm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , Brian Scott , Kyle Busch