Skinner inches past Darnell; Hornaday draws within one point of Benson
LAS VEGAS -- Mike Skinner raced to his first Craftsman Truck Series victory of the year and 25th overall Saturday night, beating Erik Darnell by two-hundredths of a second in the Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350.
The 51-year-old Skinner, the 1995 series champion and 2005 Las Vegas winner, took the lead from Darnell on a green-white-checkered restart. Darnell reclaimed the top spot on the final lap, but Skinner's Toyota was back in front at the finish line.
"Erik's truck was awfully good," Skinner said. "I knew I wasn't going to wreck to win the race. I was going to push him, bounce off of him, do whatever I needed to do. But he's a friend. He's a class act and he has a great future in this business.
"I knew that we had the third best truck, but I knew that I had one shot and you have to make the best of these things. I tried him [Darnell] on the bottom and they lined up behind me, and I said, 'Well, I have to fake him to the bottom and try him on the top."
Benson cut a right front tire while leading and crashed into the outside wall on lap 64. He was declared out of the race on lap 72.
Hornaday had to finish in the top four in order to take over the points lead from Benson with six races left. Entering the race, Benson had a 74-point lead over Hornaday.
"One point behind. OK, that is fine, we will take it," Hornaday said. "It is better than 70 out. We were getting 20 at a time, and it looked like it was his [Benson's] job this week to get the points.
"I hate to see Johnny do that [crash], he was running very hard. I saw he didn't put tires on there at the beginning [first pit stop], and I blew a tire here last time."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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