Mike Skinner finally has a little breathing room in his duel with Ron Hornaday Jr. for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title.
The two have swapped the lead back and forth for the past six races, but Skinner regained the top spot and moved out to a relatively comfortable 57-point margin over Hornaday when his good friend crashed and finished 18th last in last week’s race at Texas Motor Speedway and Skinner wound up third.
Now the two former truck series champions take their battle to Phoenix for the penultimate race of the season.
Skinner, whose only victories on the one-mile Phoenix oval came in his first two starts on the track in his championship year of 1995, would wrap up the title at the Arizona track if he wins and leads the most laps and two-time champion Hornaday finishes 36th or worse and does not lead a lap.
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Otherwise, the championship will come down to the season-finale next week in Homestead.
“I am very excited about Phoenix,” Skinner said. “We normally run pretty well there, and I have a lot of history there as well. So, hopefully, we can capitalize on that this weekend.
“It is coming down to the wire and we have got to do all we can to run well this weekend if we want to keep our hopes alive in Homestead.”
Hornaday, who also has two wins at Phoenix, said, “We are taking the truck that we won with at New Hampshire (in September) and it is a good truck. We can still be win this championship if everything goes our way.”