Talladega II: Mike Skinner preview

TALLADEGA, Ala. (Sept. 23, 2003) -- When it comes to the controversial restrictor plate racing, Mike Skinner gives it a thumbs up. "I love the plate races at Talladega and Daytona," said Skinner, who is subbing for the injured Jerry Nadeau. "I...

TALLADEGA, Ala. (Sept. 23, 2003) -- When it comes to the controversial restrictor plate racing, Mike Skinner gives it a thumbs up.

"I love the plate races at Talladega and Daytona," said Skinner, who is subbing for the injured Jerry Nadeau. "I feel I am pretty good at it if I have a good car."

Skinner, who will be driving the No. 01 USG Sheetrock Brand Pontiac at Sunday's EA Sports 500 here at Talladega Superspeedway, has every intention of running well in the season's final restrictor plate race.

"I am really looking forward to Talladega and I am going to give it everything I have," commented Skinner. "Win, crash or blow, I just want to run well in the USG Sheetrock brand car. I have nothing to lose."

Skinner nearly claimed a victory on Talladega's 2.66-mile tri-oval. He finished second to Jeff Gordon in the 2000 spring race.

"That race was a battle to the end," recalled Skinner. "I guess we could have won the race, but I would have had to move Gordon. I chose not to. We raced clean and Talladega is obviously not the place you want to wreck somebody for a win."

Along with the second-place finish, Skinner has posted two other top 10s at Talladega -- sixth at the fall race in 2000 and seventh in the 1998 fall race. In qualifying, Skinner has started in the top 10 four times.

"At Talladega and Daytona qualifying is 95 percent car and five percent driver," offered Skinner. "The rest of the places we go to it's both the driver and car.

"But once the race starts at a plate race, there better be a driver in there. When you have 43 guys running four and five wide for hours at a time, it takes a lot of talent and focus."

Regarding race strategy, Skinner says it's pretty basic.

"There's no secret to what you need to do at Talladega and Daytona," explained Skinner. "You have to survive most of the day -- it doesn't matter where you are. But towards the end of the race a lot of things have to come into play. You need really good pit calling, a little luck and of course, a car that can pull up and draft."

Skinner added, "There's not much lifting off the pedal at Talladega. But the guy who can keep the pedal down at this place when the tires are old is going to do well."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Mike Skinner , Jerry Nadeau