TALLADEGA, Ala. – Rick Crawford had a Macaulay Culkin moment as hetried, but failed, to pass Todd Bodine for the win in Saturday’sMountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.
“My Ford was ‘Home Alone’ in the top five today,” Crawford said aftercoming up just short in a three-wide finish with the Toyotas of Bodineand Johnny Benson.
Bodine knew Crawford’s last-lap move was coming and was trying to do allhe could to get to the finish line first at the Turn 1 end of this2.66-mile track’s long trioval.
“I knew Rick was out there,” Bodine said, “but I could see his hood, soI knew I had won. Rick timed it just a little too late.”
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In an afternoon where the lead in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Seriespoints lead changed hands for the third time in four races, Bodine tookthe lead from Mike Skinner after a restart on Lap 83 and held on fromthere.
Skinner came into the race with a three-point lead over Ron Hornaday inthe race for the title, and late in the race seemed to be poised to padthat a little bit.
But as he ran behind the leaders in traffic in the final laps, the rightcorner of the hood on Skinner’s No. 5 Toyota began flapping after one ofthe pins holding it in place worked loose. Eventually, the sheet metalbegan to fold over and NASCAR order Skinner to pit road to have itrepaired.
Before Skinner had to come in, however, Mike Wallace got turned aroundin traffic on Lap 89 and the caution came out. That allowed Skinner torespond to the black flag without losing a lap.
He restarted 17th for a two-lap run to the checkered flag, and while thefront three were going for the win Skinner was fighting back to finish13th. But Hornaday, who’d also seen his truck damaged in a six-truckwreck on Lap 74, wound up seventh.
That leaves Hornaday with a 14-point lead over Skinner atop thestandings.
Crawford, who is from Alabama, said he would have loved to win the racein his home state.
“I thought I made the right move,” he said. “But looking back I wouldhave done it the same way. ...I was getting a really good run off Turn 4,but I knew Johnny was going to help his teammate and try to win the raceitself. If I had pulled out earlier I would have finished about fifth to10th.”
Benson did precisely what Crawford thought he’d do. Benson didn’t followCrawford to the outside, but he also didn’t tuck in behind Bodine andsimply settle for second. Benson dove to the low side and finished aclose third.
“If Rick would have had another Ford behind him he would have gone onby,” Benson said.