Setzer snaps winless streak, wins Ohio 250
MANSFIELD, Ohio -- Dennis Setzer outwitted the competition for his 17th career NASCAR Craftsman Truck series victory, running the entire rain-delayed Ohio 250 without a pit stop Saturday at Mansfield Motorsport Park.
Setzer, driving a Chevrolet, took the lead on the 239th of 250 laps around the half-mile oval when leader Rick Crawford cut down a tire in the fourth turn.
Setzer, who started 16th in the 36-truck field, snapped a winless streak of 41 races and gave his Spears Motorsports team its fourth victory and first since 2004.
The winner averaged just 52.873 mph, with 103 laps run under the caution -- most due to track drying as rain showers produced three stoppages totaling 5 hours, 37 seconds.
"With the [hard] Goodyear tire that can go 250 laps, we knew it would be a fuel mileage race," said Setzer, who began conferring with crew chief Tom Ackerman on a no-stop strategy before the race began. "We talked before the race started. When I drove for the Dodge program, I learned how to save fuel during cautions."
Jack Sprague, who finished second for the third consecutive time after winning the inaugural Mansfield race in 2004, couldn't believe that Setzer hadn't pitted.
"There's no way," the three-time series champion said.
Nextel Cup veteran Ken Schrader, who finished third for Dodge's first top five of the season, said: "Setzer has a real good foot. If anybody could make it, he could."
Setzer's win, worth $52,150, was his ninth on a short track to go with eight speedway victories.
Pole starter Mike Skinner finished fourth in his Toyota after leading the first 53 laps. Johnny Benson was fifth, followed by Ron Hornaday Jr., Travis Kvapil, Ted Musgrave, Brendan Gaughan and rookie Kevin Hamlin. Crawford finished 23rd, the final driver to complete all 250 laps.
There were three lead changes among four drivers. Matt Crafton, on the same no-stop strategy as the winner, cut down a tire on the 121st lap and handed the lead to Crawford after hitting the wall. Crafton finished 35th.
Skinner has a 121-point lead Ron Hornaday in the season standings. Defending series champion Todd Bodine dropped to third after a late-race accident sent his Toyota to the pits for 12 laps to repair a radiator.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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