NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES REWIND: 2005
Through the first four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events at Kansas Speedway, youth seemed to have its advantages. Only one driver above the age of 25 had visited victory lane at the 1.5-mile oval, leaving much of the series’ old guard hungry for success.
Things started out well for the veterans as 44-year-old, Bill Lester, shattered the previous track record and collected the pole with an average one-lap speed of 173.633 mph. In fact, 31 of the 36 trucks broke the previous one-lap qualifying record of 166.323 mph, set by Chad Chaffin in 2003.
A packed house was on hand to witness the fifth O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 on Saturday, July 2, 2005. When the green flag flew, it was Mike Skinner that showed early dominance, quickly passing Lester on the first lap. Much of the first half of the race belonged to the 48-year-old Californian, but fellow long-timer racers, Todd Bodine and Ron Hornaday Jr. were saving some for the end.
Hornaday and Bodine would pull away from the field mid-race and engage in battle until Bodine’s truck fell victim to the ill effects of turbulent air flowing from Hornaday’s wake. Nearly spinning his truck, Bodine gathered his Tundra and again mounted a challenge, overtaking Hornaday on lap 145.
A scary incident red flagged the event with just 13 laps remaining when Chris Fontaine’s Dodge struck the wall in turn four, bouncing him back into the oncoming path of Kelly Sutton’s No. 02 truck. Sutton tried to avoid Fontaine’s vehicle but her evasive action caused her to spin, striking Fontaine and flipping her truck on its top and sending her sliding down the track. Both drivers would be okay.
Another late race caution on lap 166 of the 167 scheduled lap event set up a green-white-checkered finish. Bodine would hold off rookie of the year contender, Todd Kluever, by a .387-second margin when the checkered flag fell.
The 41-year-old’s victory was the third of his truck series career and first of the 2005 season. His Germain/Arnold Racing crew chief, Mike Hillman Jr., also picked up the first win of his career perched atop the war wagon.
“The team did a fantastic job today and gave me a great truck,” said Bodine. “It’s great to be back working with the Germain’s, Mike Hillman and my crew chief, Mike Hillman Jr.”
Also finishing in the top five that day were David Reutimann, Mike Skinner and Lester.
Ted Musgrave, who finished 14th, would collect the 2005 points championship with Bodine finishing third. Kluever, who posted 12 top-10 finishes, convincingly grabbed the rookie of the year title in 2005.