Defending O'Reilly 200 winner Skinner hopes Bristol triggers turnaround DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2006) -- Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) has seen both extremes at Bristol Motor Speedway. In 1995, the inaugural season of the ...
Defending O'Reilly 200 winner Skinner hopes Bristol triggers turnaround
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2006) -- Mike Skinner (No. 5 Toyota Tundra Toyota) has seen both extremes at Bristol Motor Speedway.
In 1995, the inaugural season of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Skinner won the Budweiser Pole, missed the drivers' meeting and -- trying to battle his way back through the pack -- wound up 20th.
Last year, Skinner found redemption at the .533-mile track -- breaking a series non-winning streak that began in 1996. The win also was the first for Bill Davis Racing, a charter Toyota team beginning in 2004.
Obviously, Skinner is happy to be back in Thunder Valley for Wednesday night's O'Reilly 200.
"Winning the race last year was one of my favorite memories of Bristol," said Skinner. "Being able to make races there early in my career in the NASCAR Busch Series as well as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series is also a fond memory.
"We would show up with our fifth-wheel trailer and be competitive and I can remember how good it felt."
What he's looking for this year is to regain that feeling by turning around some less --than-pleasant luck. Despite being among the series' fastest competitors -- tops in poles won and laps and miles led -- Skinner enters the final nine races ranked 15th for the championship.
Twice he's led races with two laps remaining and come up short, most recently earlier this month at Nashville Superspeedway. A year ago, when he finished fifth in points, Skinner counted nine top fives and 13 top 10s. To date, the numbers are three and five. He's also suffered four DNFs.
So the series' only mid-week race couldn't come at a better time.
"Driving at Bristol is like running around in a punch bowl. It is amazing," said Skinner. "It is probably the fastest race track we go to per scale. The speeds we run at Bristol to the size of the track, I do not know if there is any place that is any faster."
Skinner, a former Daytona 500 pole winner, always has taken a no-nonsense approach to racing. He says that Bristol fits that style.
"It is really hard to work on the chassis and you run very conventional setups there. You are not into that coil-binding springs and all the other crazy (handling) stuff," he said. "It is a conventional setup and it is up to the driver and crew to get it done."