"What I didn't like about the race turned around and won it for me"

Mike Skinner scored his second Las Vegas Motor Speedway NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory with a thrilling finish over Erik Darnell Saturday night. The pace of the race was interrupted by a record 12 caution periods but ended in a green-white-checkered finish with Skinner winning by just 0.020 sec.

The complexion of the Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 changed dramatically when race and points leader Johnny Benson crashed in Turn 1 on lap 65, the victim of a flat right-front tire. Benson was not injured, Skinner inherited the lead and Ron Hornaday saw a chance to take the points lead.

"No warning at all. The truck was perfect," said Benson. "We were cruising right along. There ain't no doubt we had a fast truck. It was just incredible and I wasn't running as fast as I could have."

The caution flags began to pile up as the race passed the halfway point.

The race restarted for the 11th time with just six laps remaining. Erik Darnell blocked Skinner at the green flag but yet another caution period slowed the pace as David Starr spun down the back straightaway and crashed. The race restarted on lap 145 with an attempt at a green-white-checkered finish to the 146-lap race.

The Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 ended in a wild finish as Skinner drove to the high side of Darnell on the back straightaway. As Darnell battled back, Brendan Gaughan spun but the pair raced on to the checkered flag. Darnell almost passed Skinner on the outside in Turn 4 with the checkered flag in sight but Skinner powered back to cross the finish line ahead of Darnell by a nose as rookie Colin Braun spun.

"I've been beat many, many times when I've had the fastest truck," said Skinner. "Erik Darnell's gonna be sitting up here one day and say the same thing. He had the fastest truck tonight. We were able to work him hard on the restarts. He was trying to stop-and-go on the restarts. He was doing everything he's supposed to do - he's supposed to try to win the race. That's all the kid was doing and he's a good guy and a good driver. I knew I had to do something different from what I'd been doing, and I thought they were gonna line up and freight-train me. The 6 Truck (Colin Braun) was pushing me pretty hard and I said, 'If they all think I'm going to the bottom then I've got to go to the top. I went to the top and his truck was so strong he came back and passed me on the outside. We just bounced off him and killed his momentum a little bit. I wasn't going to wreck him to win the race. I had plenty of opportunities to do that and I didn't."

Skinner was asked how the slew of late-race cautions affected his run.

"When Erik and I were out there, four seconds ahead of third place, with 20 or 30 laps to go, the cautions started coming and I said, 'This ain't good.' I didn't like the cautions. I thought it was ridiculous how some of the folks were driving back there in the back. I don't want to bad-mouth anybody, but I sure wasn't liking it. I knew that if it just stayed green we were gonna finish second. What I didn't like about the race turned around and won the race for me."

Skinner's win marked his 25th NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory. Tonight's win was Skinner's second at LVMS - he also won here in 2006.

"We needed green-flag laps at the end," said Darnell. "My Ford was really good once we got five laps on, but all those restarts at the end killed us. Mike was better for two or three laps and then I was able to drive away from him. He got a good run getting into (Turn) 1 and got me just a little loose and he got the momentum he needed to get up on the high side. He got a push down the backstretch and got ahead of me. That last lap, going into (Turn) 3, I held it wide open and I said, 'I'm either gonna pass him or I'm gonna wreck it trying. Mike's always run me clean and I do the same with him. I knew he wasn't going to turn me. I thought I was going to be able to win the drag-race back to the start-finish line but he got there first."

Keystone Light Pole Award winner Hornaday finished fifth, allowing Benson to retain the points lead by just one point.

Las Vegas' Brendan Gaughan finished 20th.

Donny Lia was the highest-finishing rookie.