Skinner's Championship Hopes Roll Away

November 16, 2007

November 16, 2007 - Homestead, FL - Mike Skinner, who was leading the series point standings heading into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, saw his championship hopes roll away when he lost the left rear wheel in turn four on lap 74 of the 200-lap event. He limped his No. 5 Toyota Tundra down pit road before taking it behind the wall to fix the damaged studs.

"We were doing what we were supposed to do and our Tundra was really good," said Skinner, who eventually finished 35th. "We had a good motor, just like we had all year. I guess a hub was coming apart. The brake pedal was going to the floor and it was vibrating really badly. We thought it was a right-front because there was so much vibration in the wheel. We changed right-side tires and that didn’t fix it. It got worse and worse and finally came apart.

"I got up next to the wall because I knew it was going to break sooner or later. The left-rear hub fell apart. It was a tough night, but congratulations to Ron (Hornaday). We were leading the race when it all came down and that’s where we were supposed to be. We led every race except for one this year, so I can’t go stick my head in the sand. We were where we were supposed to be when the truck broke."

Johnny Benson charged past Kyle Busch during a green-white-checkered finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season finale. He crossed the finish line first at the one-and-a-half-mile oval to take his ninth career series victory and fourth win of the 2007 season.

"The whole race was great," said Benson, in victory lane. "We didn't want to change the set-up too much all night. I could catch him but I couldn't do anything about it. Kyle ran a good race and on the green-white-checkered I saw he was loose. I knew he didn't want me on the outside of him, but I thought we were going to be pretty dangerous on the inside of him. I'm glad we could come out of here with a victory and the green-white-checker definitely helped us out."

The driver of the No. 23 Exide Tundra beat Busch to the checkered flag by 0.6-of-a-second. Rick Crawford, Kevin Harvick and Tundra driver Jason Leffler finished third through fifth, respectively.

Tundra drivers Justin Marks (eighth) and Dave Blaney (10th) finished among the top-10. A total of 12 Tundras competed in tonight's race, including Todd Bodine (14th), Jack Sprague (17th), Ted Musgrave (18th), Terry Cook (20th), Donny Lia (25th), Andy Lally (33rd) and Jacques Villeneuve (36th).

This was Toyota's 13th win of the season. Toyota clinched their second consecutive manufacturer's title at Martinsville in October.

Ron Hornaday took his third NCTS title (1996, 1998 and 2007) by 54 points over Skinner in the unofficial post-race championship point standings. Benson's win moved him into third-place in the championship standings. Last year's series champion, Bodine, finished the season fourth in the points. Musgrave finished the year in seventh, while Sprague closed out the year in ninth to give Toyota five Tundra racers in the top-10 championship point standings.

The 2008 season kicks off in Daytona on Friday, February 15.

Toyota Finishing Positions at Homestead-Miami Speedway
1st, JOHNNY BENSON
5th, JASON LEFFLER
8th, JUSTIN MARKS
10th, DAVE BLANEY
14th, TODD BODINE
17th, JACK SPRAGUE
18th, TED MUSGRAVE
20th, TERRY COOK
15th, DONNY LIA
33rd, ANDY LALLY
35th, MIKE SKINNER
36th, JACQUES VILLENEUVE

Toyota Drivers in the Point Standings following Homestead-Miami Speedway race*
2nd, MIKE SKINNER 3,982 Points
3rd, JOHNNY BENSON 3,557 Points
4th, TODD BODINE 3,525 Points
7th, TED MUSGRAVE 3,183 Points
9th, JACK SPRAGUE 3,001 Points
14th, TERRY COOK 2,568 Points

* Unofficial Point Standings

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