LAS VEGAS -- Polesitter Travis Kvapil broke away from a
tight pack with four laps to go and held on Saturday night to win
the Smith's Las Vegas 350, while former Formula One champion
Jacques Villeneuve was 21st in his Craftsman Truck Series debut.
"It was sort of an amazing finish," Kvapil said. "Those last
handful of laps I was running wide open on the outside of turns one
and two, but the 23 [Benson] could run wide open on the bottom. It
just made for some great racing.
"The 21 [Wood] got loose once under me and I heard him pedal
the gas, doing everything he could to not wreck us but still go for
the victory. Those guys did an amazing job, and we ran a great race
Skinner finished 13th to take over the season points lead from
Hornaday, who placed 22nd. Skinner, with 3,070 points, has a
three-point lead over Hornaday, who fell out of fourth place
following a front-tire blowout with 10 laps left.
Benson was second, followed by Wood, Terry Cook and Erik
Wood led a race-high 49 laps, while Todd Bodine led 45 laps and
Kvapil was in front for 29 -- laps 6-22 and the 12 of the final 13.
"We were a little bit tight during the first half of the
race," Kvapil said. "I was trying to run the bottom of the race
track through one and two, but my truck wasn't set up good enough
to get through the bumps like I needed.
"So I searched around a little bit. It took me a little while
to figure out [how to work turns one and two]. I found out that I
should run the outside lane; just go around them worked for me. I
knew I was better than them through turns one and two after a few
laps [after the final restart]. It seems like both of them would
try and hold the bottom of the racetrack really tight, and I could
really keep the momentum up on the outside, roll through and carry
a lot of speed."
Villeneuve qualified seventh on Las Vegas Motor Speedway's
1.5-mile tri-oval, and was running 16th after 30 laps. But the
Canadian star got into the rear of Brian Scott's car on turn two of
lap 46 and dropped back to 25th after pitting on lap 48 so his crew
could repair the damage. Villeneuve finished a lap down and never
cracked the top 20 after the accident.
"I was running high and I ended up getting sideways,"
Villeneuve said. "You can actually slide those trucks a lot
without crashing [into the wall], so that's quite good. I'm
surprised because it wasn't a big hit at all, but it did
significant damage. I didn't expect so much damage, so that's
something to learn."