A Win's a Win
The self-proclaimed “king of the non-points races,” Mike Skinner knows exactly what a win on All-Star night can do for a driver’s confidence. He won a heat race before the 1999 Winston Open.
“It’s still a Sprint Cup race. It doesn’t matter if it pays points or not. You still had to race some really good guys,” Skinner said, referring to AJ Allmendinger’s victory in the Sprint Showdown.
For five races in March and April, the veteran Skinner occupied AJ’s No. 84 Red Bull Toyota as the team righted the ship. AJ returned at Talladega and three weeks later earned his first trip to victory lane Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
“The thing that impressed me the most about that win was his maturity, where Ricky (Viers) put it on him if they wanted to pit or stay out,” Skinner noted. “The kid made the choice to stay out, knowing his car wasn’t perfect but clean air was very important. That showed a lot of maturity.”
Back to Skinner’s “king” claim. Maybe he’s right. Along with the 1999 non-points win at LMS, Skinner owns hardware from the 1999 Bud Shootout qualifier, 2001 qualifying race at Daytona and the 1997 and ’98 exhibition events in Japan.