Mike Skinner Reflects on 2009 O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 Win
Last year’s race meant so much for the entire Randy Moss Motorsports organization. For me, it was exciting to win with a new group of guys and to be in a position where we were capable of winning races after being at another organization for such a long time. It was also my first trip to victory lane at Kansas [Speedway] despite sitting on the pole for two of my six starts at the track. For the team, it was their first trip to victory lane in a couple seasons and the energy and excitement that the win generated for our organization was awesome.
The team put a lot of hard work into making our truck capable of winning a race, but it was not a race-winning truck right off the hauler. When the race first started on Saturday afternoon, there was a strong headwind going down the back stretch that really slowed the trucks down. At that time, our Tundra was only maybe a fourth- or fifth-place truck. The International Truck/Monaco RVs crew made a couple of changes to our Tundra during the opening laps on Saturday afternoon, but we couldn’t find the speed that we needed to dominate the race. To add to the challenge, we didn’t have that long to work on the truck on Saturday afternoon before the rain came and pushed the race back to Monday.
After NASCAR postponed the finish, we contacted the president of Kansas Speedway, Jeff Boerger, who gave us passes for the suites on Sunday afternoon to watch the IZOD IndyCar Series race. The view from the suite was great, and I was able to watch the line that the drivers used to get around the mile-and-a-half track. What really surprised me during the race was how their cars were affected by the wind blowing down the backstretch. The wind was exactly like what we had on Saturday afternoon, and even though you think of Indy cars as being extremely aerodynamic they were having just as much trouble with the wind as our trucks.
Before we headed back out on track to finish the race on Monday morning, the No. 5 International Trucks/Monaco RVs team made a few minor changes to our Tundra to help the handling. By Monday, the wind had shifted to a headwind on the front stretch and I had picked a new line around the one-and-a-half-mile track. Once we paired those few changes together, the International Trucks/Monaco RVs Tundra was unstoppable.
After waiting nearly 48 hours to finish the race, rain still brought an early finish. Fortunately, our team kept the No. 5 International Truck/Monaco RVs Tundra at the front of the field, and we were at the right place at the right time.