Mike Skinner Mows Through the Field to a Third-Place Finish at Martinsville; The 1995 Truck Series Champion Records Second Straight Top-Five Finish MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 31, 2009) -- After rain storms postponed the NASCAR Camping World...
Mike Skinner Mows Through the Field to a Third-Place Finish at Martinsville; The 1995 Truck Series Champion Records Second Straight Top-Five Finish
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 31, 2009) -- After rain storms postponed the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) race until Monday, Mike Skinner and the No. 5 Bad Boy Mowers Toyota Tundra went racing at Martinsville Speedway under bright sunshine-filled skies. Skinner, a three-time winner at the "paperclip" track, mowed through the field like a "bad boy" after a pit road penalty on lap 95 and came back to finish in the third position. This finish was the second consecutive top-four finish for Skinner and his Randy Moss Motorsports (RMM) team, as they recorded a fourth-place effort at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Skinner started the Kroger 250 from the ninth position and was shuffled back quickly to the 13th position when the first caution of the afternoon came on lap 15. As soon as the 1995 Truck Series Champion restarted, the caution flag waved again for a spin involving the No. 6 truck, which resulted in left rear bumper damage to the No. 5 Bad Boy Mowers Toyota. The damage was not substantial and did not hinder the progress that Skinner was making on the field. On lap 35, Skinner restarted in the 13th position and steadily moved into the top-10 by lap 42. Over the next 50 laps, the Daytona Beach, Florida resident patiently picked off one competitor at a time and was running in the fifth position as the caution came out on lap 93.
Crew chief Eric Phillips called Skinner to the attention of his pit crew on lap 94 for four fresh Goodyear tires and the No. 5 Tundra returned to pit road the following lap to be topped off with Sunoco fuel. As Skinner was receiving service on his second pit stop, the catch can disconnected from the truck before the gas can, which cost the RMM valuable track position and a tail-end of the longest line penalty. Skinner, determined to make his way back through the field, restarted in 22nd-place and by lap 137, the veteran had re-entered the top-10.
As numerous cautions slowed the remainder of the race, Skinner was able to use his abundant amount of talent and experience to gradually crack into the top-five by lap 159. Once Skinner regained all of the track position that he had lost, he never looked back and kept moving towards the leader. The No. 5 Bad Boy Mowers Toyota handled well and allowed Skinner to battle his way to the finish in the third position. This is the highest finish for RMM so far in the 2009 NCWTS season.
"I felt like a pinball at the start of the race," said Skinner. "This Bad Bow Mowers/EXIDE Tundra was awfully good for our first short-track race together. I think Eric Phillips (crew chief) and this team showed that we have a lot of potential. We had a bad hiccup there on pit road, and had to start all the way at the tail end of the longest line. We drove back up there. No one helped us get back up there. We didn't get handed anything. That means we had a good truck. They put me in an awfully good truck to be able to drive at Martinsville from all the way at the back to the front. If we would have been in the front, they never would've passed us. It's just track position. You have to spend money on pit crew, and you need to spend where it needs to be spent. You can't give up anything when you're at this place. You have to get out first in front of everybody. A little better qualifying effort out of the driver would've helped. I was going for the pole and it was all-or-nothing, and started ninth. I think I was 15th after three laps. Overall, it was a good day for us."
Despite the third-place finish, Skinner dropped one position, to fourth-place, in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship point standings. However, the points gap between the top-five drivers closed tremendously, as Skinner is now only 76 points behind leader Kyle Busch.
Mike Skinner and his No. 5 Randy Moss Motorsports team will take a few weeks off before returning to racing action as they follow the yellow brick road to Kansas Speedway on Saturday, April 25, 2009.