Texas II: News of note, schedule

* Battle For 10th Place Heats Up * Skinner Continues To Lead Races NCTS Etc: Championship Isn't Only Battle Brewing Top 10 Far From Locked In David Starr (No. 10 International MAXX-FORCE Diesel Ford) finished 15th at Atlanta to jump into the...

* Battle For 10th Place Heats Up
* Skinner Continues To Lead Races

NCTS Etc: Championship Isn't Only Battle Brewing

Top 10 Far From Locked In

David Starr (No. 10 International MAXX-FORCE Diesel Ford) finished 15th at Atlanta to jump into the top 10 in the standings for the first time all season. Starr had slowly been climbing the leaderboard since a 20th-place finish in the season opener. Although Starr is currently ninth in the standings, his position is not safe by any means.

Starr leads 10th-place driver Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-Way Freight Toyota) by eight points and 11th-place Erik Darnell (No. 99 Northern Tools + Equipment Ford) by only 10.

Overall, 134 points separate positions nine through 13. Dennis Setzer (No. 18 Fastenal Dodge) is 12th, 83 points out of 10th and Brendan Gaughan is 13th, 126 behind Sprague.

The top 10 drivers will be honored at the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series awards banquet at The Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla., on Nov. 19. Skinner Out Front The Most Mike Skinner led five laps at Atlanta Motor Speedway to extend his record of races led in a season to 21 out of a possible 22 races. The only race Skinner failed to lead a lap was at Bristol Motor Speedway. The previous record was 19 races shared by Greg Biffle in 1999 and Jack Sprague in 2001.

Skinner still has a ways to go, however, to catch the season records for miles and laps led. He currently has led 1,041 laps and 1,130.81 miles. He set the laps led in a season mark with 1,533 in 1996. Sprague has the most miles led with 1,443.02 in 2001.

Chaffin Streaks To A Halt

Chad Chaffin (No. 40 Key Motorsports Chevrolet) had his short-lived streak of consecutive top-10 finishes snapped at Atlanta. Chaffin had improved all four previous races he had started for Key Motorsports. After finishing 36th in his team debut at New Hampshire International Speedway, Chaffin finished 16th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, eighth at Talladega Superspeedway and seventh at Martinsville Speedway. The latter representing the top finishes for Key Motorsports in 45 series starts.

Chaffin has 29 top 10s in 99 career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts, including wins at Dover and O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis in 2004. He is expected to make his 100th career start at Texas, making him the 25th driver in series history to hit the milestone.

Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings: Clanton Continues Climb

Joey Clanton (No. 09 Zaxby's Ford) finished sixth at Atlanta Motor Speedway -- his hometown track -- and picked up 16 points in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings to close the gap on leaders Willie Allen (No. 13 Pork/ThorSport Chevrolet) and Tim Sauter (No. 07 Lester Buildings Chevrolet).

The finish tied a career high for Clanton, who also finished sixth at the season opener in Daytona.

Allen currently leads second-place Sauter by seven points and Clanton by eight. Clanton should continue to gain ground as he racks up more starts.

The Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings only count a driver's top 14 starts of the season. Atlanta was Clanton's 14th start, a mark that Allen and Sauter both hit two months ago. With three races remaining, Clanton has the opportunity to erase some of his poor finishes at the beginning of the season.

In The Loop: Bodine, Skinner and Hornaday Top Texas Loop Charts

It's been all or nothing for Todd Bodine at Texas Motor Speedway.

Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Bodine has won three times in five races. But the other two trips resulted in finishes of 14th and 30th. If Bodine wins this weekend, he'll become the first driver in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to win five races at a given track. Clearly, the chances are good.

Bodine has some of the top stats at Texas. Overall since 2005, he has a Driver Rating of 101.1, an Average Running Position of 12.7, 74 Fastest Laps Run and has spent 69% of the total laps run in the top 15. In his three wins over that span, Bodine has Driver Rating of 116.7 and an Average Running Position of 7.1.

But all eyes will certainly be trained on the back-and-forth battle between Ron Hornaday Jr. and Mike Skinner. Hornaday, with a second-place finish at Atlanta, retook the series lead by four points. But from the looks of things, one of two scenarios will likely play out -- the lead will be short lived or stay relatively the same.

Both Hornaday and Skinner excel at Texas, with Skinner owning a slight edge since 2005.

Of those who have competed in all five races since 2005, Skinner holds the top ranks in Driver Rating (135.2), Average Running Position (2.4), Fastest Laps Run (144) and Laps in the Top 15 (99.2% -- all but six of the total laps run).

Hornaday has a Driver Rating of 112.9, an Average Running Position of 7.8, 57 Fastest Laps Run and has spent 87.6% of the total laps in the top 15.

Manufacturers' Preview -- Texas

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is making its 20th trip to Texas Motor Speedway -- the most of any track in series history. Chevrolet leads all manufacturers with seven wins, followed by five for Dodge, four for Toyota and three for Ford.

On Deck: Phoenix International Raceway

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will travel to Phoenix International Raceway next week, one of three tracks the series has raced at each of its 13 seasons.

Johnny Benson won last year's Casino Arizona 150 after qualifying on the pole.

Current points leader Ron Hornaday Jr. has two wins at Phoenix, as does second-place Mike Skinner.

FAST FACTS

Next Race: Silverado 350K

The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: November 2

The Time: 9:00 p.m. (ET)
TV: SPEED 8:30 p.m. (ET)

Track Layout: 1.5-mile oval

Race Purse: $588,064

2006 Winner: Clint Bowyer
2006 Pole: Clint Bowyer

Schedule:
Thursday: Practice 12:30--1:30 p.m., 2--2:30 p.m. (rookies) and 2:30--3:30 p.m., Qualifying 7 p.m.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Mike Skinner , David Starr , Greg Biffle , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , Dennis Setzer , Tim Sauter , Brendan Gaughan , Chad Chaffin , Joey Clanton , Clint Bowyer , Willie Allen , Erik Darnell