Bowyer Wins His 3rd Truck Series Start

Saturday, November 4th 2006, 6:03 am
By: News On 6

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Clint Bowyer had a dominating run at Texas, then held the lead after a green-white finish to win in only his third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series start Friday night.

Bowyer led 103 of 148 laps and finished 0.279 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch, giving Chevrolet a 1-2 finish on the night that Toyota captured the season manufacturer title on the strength of Mike Skinner's third-place finish.

Kerry Earnhardt brought out the seventh and final caution when he made contact with the wall in Turn 2. His earlier spinout brought out another yellow flag.

When the race resumed on the 147th lap, which was supposed to be the last one, Bowyer had a strong restart and stayed in front of Busch for the two-lap shootout to the finish line. The only change in the top four was Skinner passing Jack Sprague.

Series points leader Todd Bodine had won three of the previous four Texas races, but finished 14th after having to start at the back of the field because of carburetor adjustments during the impound period. He still has the points lead over Johnny Benson with two races left, at Phoenix and Homestead where Bodine won last year.

Bodine stretched his points lead from 86 to 137 over Benson, who didn't finish a race for the first time this season because of a mechanical problem. Benson was running in the top 10 on the 116th lap when he suddenly dropped off the pace, and finished 31st.

``Now we have to fight for second,'' Benson said. ``We could have probably made it up to third in the race. I'm not sure what it is yet. We can't capitalize on anything this year.''

David Reutimann (165 points behind) and Ted Musgrave (262) remained 3-4 in the points, and are the only other drivers still with a mathematical chance of winning the season title.

Rick Crawford remained fifth, but was eliminated from contention after he wrecked his Ford and finished 33rd.

Bodine has the championship lead for the 19th straight week, breaking the record 18 consecutive weeks by Ron Hornaday Jr. in 1996.

With an average speed of 124.895 mph, Bowyer became the first polesitter to win on the 1 1/2-mile, high-banked Texas track since Bryan Reffner in 2000.

Bowyer led the first 49 laps, and had more than a two-second lead over Skinner when a caution came out on the 45th lap for debris. Skinner took the lead on lap 50, the first after the restart.

Skinner stayed in front until Bowyer beat everybody off pit road on the 95th lap, on a caution caused by Crawford's wreck, and led the rest of the way.

``The guys in the pit won this race for us,'' said Bowyer, a Nextel Cup rookie who is also running the Busch race at Texas this weekend. ``It's a lot of fun to come race in this series. It's hard racing, blocking and trying to hold them back.''

Bowyer is the 12th driver to win in the series this year, but joined Benson as the only first-time winners in 2006.