Reutimann wins dramatic duel with Skinner
GLADEVILLE, Tenn. -- David Reutimann won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' Toyota Tundra 200 at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, squeezing past Mike Skinner with two laps left and holding off Ted Musgrave by about two truck lengths.
Reutimann, driving a Toyota owned by former NASCAR star Darrell Waltrip, won for the first time in the Truck Series after finishing in the top three in three of the last four races. The 20034 series rookie of the year earned $52,110.
Reutimann and pole starter Skinner drove side-by-side into the third turn on the 1.333-mile concrete oval on the 149th of 150 laps. Skinner, also driving a Toyota, carried to much speed into the corner and slid up the track and out of the lead. That also opened the inside lane for Musgrave and third-place finisher Todd Bodine.
Skinner finished fourth, and rookie Todd Kluever was fifth in a Ford.
Racing Skinner for the lead at lap 136, Reutimann was fortunate to avoid fluid dropped by Tracy Hines' spinning Chevrolet. Skinner wasn't as lucky, grazing the wall between the third and fourth turns as the race's eighth caution flag flew.
"He got in the wall," Reutimann said. "Thank the Lord I missed it."
Skinner led 98 laps.
"The loss was really unfortunate," Skinner said. "Our race team did such a good job and I stayed focused all day and I feel I did a pretty good job. That particular truck that blew up in front of us; It wasn't his fault but it was unfortunate. You hit a little and what can you say?"
Reutimann has jumped from 18th to fifth in the championship standings.
"I told my guys that we've turned the corner," he said. "We've definitely come full circle."
The victory was the fourth for Nashville-area resident Waltrip, the event's grand marshal. He won three times with Rich Bickle in 1997.
Reutimann led twice for 41 laps and averaged 109.246 mph in the 200-mile race that included nine caution periods that consumed 35 laps. The final caution, for Ricky Craven's accident, set up the three-lap sprint to the finish that settled the race.
Series leader Dennis Setzer finished 14th. He leads Musgrave by 178 points.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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