Sunday, October 29, 2006
Mike Bliss wins Atlanta Craftsman Truck race
The big news in NASCAR this week was Red Bull Racing's announcement that 24 year old CHAMP car star A.J. Allmendinger will drive the #84 Toyota in the 2007 Nextel Cup season. This rumour had been around since April. Allmendinger was supposed to make his Nextel Cup debut at Atlanta this weekend but qualifying was rained out. But he did qualify third for the Easy Care 200 in the Craftsman Truck series. Mike Skinner won the pole and the points battle between Todd Bodine & Johnny Benson continues.
Mike Skinner-#5 Toyota starts in the lead but Mark Martin-#6 Scott's Miracle Gro Ford crashes on lap 2 to bring out a caution. A.J. Allmendinger-#24 Toyota takes the lead on lap 8. Johnny Benson-#23 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota is passing Allmendinger for the lead on lap 11 when Allmendinger spins and crashes into Joe Nemechek-#46 Chevy. Allmendinger finshes 34th. Benson continues to lead until David Reutimann-#17 Toyota passes him on lap 29.
There's something wrong with points leader Todd Bodine-#30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota. They don't know exactly what's wrong but he comes down pit road with a flat tire on lap 35 and goes two laps down. Johnny Benson gets the lead back on lap 47. Mike Bliss-#16 Strutmasters Chevy is second and gets the lead on lap 53. David Reutimann takes second. Chase Miller-#4 Dodge crashes on lap 77. Everyone pits. Jack Sprague-#60 Con-Way Freight Toyota leads on the restart. Bliss drops to ninth after being delayed on pit road by a loose lug nut.
Disaster for Johnny Benson on lap 89. He breaks a driveshaft. Todd Bodine finished 25th and Benson was 29th so things turned out OK for Bodine. Jack Sprague continues to lead until David Reutimann & Bobby Hamilton Jr-#18 Fastenal Dodge make it three wide. Hamilton gets the lead. Sprague would brush the wall and finish 10th. Then Erik Darnell-#99 Northern Tool & Equipment Ford & Terry Cook-#10 Powerstroke Diesel Ford would enter the picture. Darnell took the lead on lap 114.
An Aric Almirola-#75 Spears Manufacturing Chevy blown engine brings out a caution on lap 116. Mike Bliss takes the lead from Erik Darnell on the lap 121 restart. Terry Cook moves into second but is unable to get close enough to challenge Bliss for the lead. Mike Bliss wins at Atlanta. Todd Bodine still leads the points and actually gained seven points on Johnny Benson. Bodine was very lucky today.