FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Todd Bodine slipped under Mike Skinner with 23 laps to go and then held the lead after a final restart to win the NASCAR truck race Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Silverado 350 was Bodine’s third victory this season, and the fifth in his career. He also won at Texas last fall.

“I was running basically wide open,” Bodine said. “The truck was absolutely perfect.”

Skinner, the polesitter, led 80 of the 147 laps and was running in front when one little slip on the backstretch allowed Bodine to get inside of him. Bodine took the lead for the first time, and kept it the rest of the way.

“We needed long green flag runs. That’s when our truck is always the best, and it was no different tonight,” Bodine said. “They started slipping and sliding. Skinner got loose one time, and I ran under him.”

After the race’s sixth and final caution, Bodine led the restart with 10 laps left in his Toyota. With Kyle Busch and Skinner driving side-by-side behind him, Bodine was able to build a gap and won by 1.162 seconds.

“Once I looked back and saw they were racing side-by-side, I knew all I had to do was not make a mistake and I’d be all right,” Bodine said.

The front pack of three drivers quickly put a 2-second gap between them and the rest of the field on the restart, and stayed that way. Skinner finally got his Toyota in front of Busch’s Chevrolet again with six laps left and beat him to the finish.

“My hats off to Todd, he ran a good race,” Skinner said. “I just finished second, what can you say. We ran really good.”

Bodine won with an average speed of 128.239 mph on the 11/2-mile Texas Motor Speedway, where an estimated crowd of 70,000 watched the first of three NASCAR races at the track this weekend. There were 26 laps of caution.

Skinner led three times, as did Busch for 26 laps. Brandon Whitt (11 laps) and Johnny Benson (7) also led the race.

David Starr, racing at his home track, finished fourth. David Reutimann was fifth and Jack Sprague, who won at Texas in June, was sixth. Ron Hornaday Jr., Rick Crawford, Bobby Hamilton and Todd Kluever completed the top 10.

Points leader Todd Musgrave finished 14th, but still increased his lead from 51 to 63 points over Dennis Setzer, who was 18th. Bodine moved from fourth to third in the points, 192 behind Musgrave, with two races left.

Bodine has nine top-3 finishes this year, including his three victories. He was second last week at Atlanta, and was driving the same truck he used there and for his win in Las Vegas two races before then.

AP-ES-11-05-05 0011EST


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