Phoenix: Penultimate round preview

*Skinner, Hornaday Jr. Resume Battle At Phoenix *Sprague Announces 2008 Move To KHI *Musgrave's Win Ends Long Drought Championship Battle Reminiscent Of Series Beginning DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2007) -- The scene is familiar -- the ...

*Skinner, Hornaday Jr. Resume Battle At Phoenix
*Sprague Announces 2008 Move To KHI
*Musgrave's Win Ends Long Drought

Championship Battle Reminiscent Of Series Beginning

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2007) -- The scene is familiar -- the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season winding down at Phoenix International Raceway; Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) holding a slim lead in the point standings; and Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet) fighting to catch Skinner.

The first time it happened, Skinner won the final race of the season at Phoenix to lock up the series' inaugural championship. Thirteen years later, he is looking for similar results.

Skinner enters Friday's Casino Arizona 150 57 points ahead of Hornaday. A late race accident at Texas dropped Hornaday from a sure top-five finish to 18th place. Skinner, who entered the race four points behind Hornaday, finished third. It was the sixth time in the last seven races that the points lead has changed hands.

The 57 point differential is the fifth-closest in series history with two races remaining, and the closest since 2004 when Bobby Hamilton led Dennis Setzer (No. 18 Fastenal Dodge) by seven points.

Skinner and Hornaday are the only two drivers with a mathematical chance to win the title. Skinner has an outside chance of clinching the title at Phoenix. Skinner will emerge from Phoenix the champion if he wins the race and leads the most laps and Hornaday finishes 36th with zero laps led.

Three-Time Champion Sprague To Join Kevin Harvick Inc. In 2008

Kevin Harvick Inc. will have at least five championship years of experience next season between its two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams.

Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota), a three-time series champion, will drive the No. 2 Chevrolet next season, joining two-time champion Ron Hornaday Jr.

"Jack Sprague brings years of racing experience to KHI and will be a great asset to Ron and the entire truck program," said team owner Kevin Harvick. "Ron Hornaday and Jack Sprague are what truck racing is all about. They are both hard-core racers. I know that they will both give everything they have until the checkered flag falls, and those are the kind of guys I want driving for me."

Sprague is second on the all-time wins (28) and poles (32) lists and holds the series records for most career top-five and top-10 finishes. Hornaday holds the series record with 33 wins.

"Kevin is a racer and he knows the importance of having good people around," Sprague said. "The whole organization at KHI is very impressive and I look forward to having the opportunity of winning more championships."

Musgrave Ends 66-Race Winless Streak

Ted Musgrave (No. 9 Team ASE Toyota) was able to breathe a sigh of relief when he crossed the start/finish line to win the Silverado 350K at Texas Motor Speedway.

The victory ended a 66-race winless drought for Musgrave, who had last won at Gateway International Raceway in April 2005. The streak was third longest among active competitors. Musgrave went on to win the series championship that season, holding off Dennis Setzer and Todd Bodine (No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota). The championship was the first for team owner Jim Smith, an original owner in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

Musgrave joined Smith's Ultra Motorsports in 2001 after 10 seasons in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. He won seven races in his first season, finishing second in the standings to Jack Sprague.

Musgrave won 16 races in five seasons for Ultra Motorsports before Smith retired his team. Musgrave joined Germain Racing in 2006 but went winless for the first time in his series career. Bodine, his new teammate, won three races and the series championship.

Musgrave, who has announced he will not return to Germain in 2008, felt that he still had something to prove to the team.

"It's like unfinished business," Musgrave said. "If you're with a team and don't win a race for them, it leaves you with a feeling that you didn't do your job."

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Jim Smith
Teams Germain Racing