Indy ORP: Mike Skinner race report

MIKE SKINNER SCORES ANOTHER RUNNER-UP FINISH AT ORP INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 25, 2009) -- Mike Skinner finished second for the second consecutive week after leading the EARLY stages IN Friday's running of the AAA Insurance 200 presented by JD ...

MIKE SKINNER SCORES ANOTHER RUNNER-UP FINISH AT ORP

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 25, 2009) -- Mike Skinner finished second for the second consecutive week after leading the EARLY stages IN Friday's running of the AAA Insurance 200 presented by JD Byrider at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis, IN.

Skinner's runner-up finish also continued the yo-yo battle for the 2009 championship and vaulted him back into the second position in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) point standings. He trails the leader by 174 markers with 12 races remaining in the 2009 NCWTS season.

Starting from the outside of the front row, Skinner took the lead before the field completed the first lap and was credited with the top spot at lap one. The former NCWTS champion remained on the point for the first 61 laps extending his lead to over three seconds at one point. On lap 61, a battle heated up for the race lead and Skinner settled into the runner-up position.

After falling further back in the top-10 the lap 94 caution was a welcome site. Skinner's Randy Moss Motorsports (RMM) crew chief Eric Phillips brought his driver in on lap 95 for the first time of the night. The No. 5 crew put on four fresh Goodyear tires and made an air pressure adjustment to help with the handling. Skinner returned one lap later for fuel and a track bar adjustment before returning to the track for the restart on lap 102 in the 12th position.

During the next green-flag run the No. 5 Exide Toyota was handling tight in the middle of the turn with the previous adjustments hurting the forward bite. However, with the handling issues Skinner was able to work his way through traffic and back into the top-10 running positions.

It was on lap 162 when the 1995 Series' Champion returned to pit road for the final time. The No. 5 RMM crew gave their driver four tires and put the air pressure back. Skinner returned to the track ready for the restart in the 10th position.

In the closing laps of the race, Skinner was able to power his way to the front with the fresh tires and moved into the third position before the final caution flag waved. Taking the green flag with just 10 laps remaining, Skinner moved into the second position and raced with the leader in a side-by-side battle to the checkered flag. Skinner was unable to make the pass and had to settle for the runner-up spot for the second week in a row.

"I could've hit him. I ain't made like that," commented Skinner after the race. "Ronnie (Hornaday) is a friend of mine. He might've done it to me but it's all right. When I shave in the morning I'll like who I see. I had a great Tundra with EXIDE Batteries. Start positive, stay positive. I don't want to give a negative energy because we finished second. I don't like to finish second any more than anybody else does but it was a good night. It was a good points night. We led a couple laps and I just can't thank EXIDE Batteries, Toyota and all of my sponsors. We've just had a great relationship for many, many years with a lot of people. We still have a lot of fire under our belly. We're not throwing in the towel."

Mike Skinner and the No. 5 Randy Moss Motorsports Toyota Tundra team will return to action at the 1.333-mile Nashville Superspeedway on August 1, 2009.

-credit: rmm

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner