MARION, Ark. – Marshall Skinner enjoyed one of his most successful racing seasons in recent memory this year.
The veteran sprint car driver posted six feature wins, including a pair of special-event triumphs, while ending a four-year winless drought.
“I really couldn’t have asked for a much better season,” Skinner said while reflecting on his 31st year behind the wheel of a sprint car. “Everything just clicked this year. We were fast almost every weekend. We were fast early in the year.
“After we won our first race at Legit Speedway Park (on June 5), it gave me confidence and started the momentum that carried us through the year,” Skinner added. “I had a better attitude this year and had a lot of fun. I didn’t let the little things bother me and I wasn’t stressed out a lot. I just went to the race track to have fun and things usually fell into place. Some of our success was due to being in the right place at the right time.”
Highlighting the season for the Arkansas racer was a victory at one of the region’s premier 360 sprint car specials — the Greg Hodnett Memorial at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Ark., in June.
Skinner dominated the event by winning his heat race and the dash before leading all 27 laps of the feature.
“That was the biggest win of my career,” he said. “It was the most money I’ve ever won in one night when you include the lap money. And it wasn’t just the money, it was a race in memory of a great driver. I was a kid watching in the stands when Greg won his first race at Riverside.”
A pair of 305 feature wins at Riverside Int’l Speedway will always be a special memory for Skinner as well.
“Driving my uncle’s 305 and winning two features with him was pretty cool,” he said. “He was the reason I became interested in racing. My dad helped him with his car when I was a kid. My uncle taught me a lot about working on race cars.
“His car wasn’t special,” he added. “It’s an older car with older parts, so that made those wins a little more enjoyable, too.”
The annual USCS Flip Flop 50 at Riverside Int’l Speedway in October saw Skinner rally from a hard crash during the opening night to win a feature the ensuing evening with a damaged car.
“We had a racing deal during the dash on Friday and went for a hard ride,” he said. “We had to take the motor out to straighten the frame for Saturday. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough to finish fifth in the first feature and then win the second one.”
His successful season makes Skinner even more eager for his 32nd year of sprint car competition next year.
“I’ve ordered a new car,” he said. “The old one is still hurt from the crash at the Flip Flop. I plan to race as much as time allows. I’ll try to support my home track (Riverside International Speedway) whenever it’s possible.
“I appreciate them racing sprint cars,” he added. “Then I’ll try to catch as many other races as possible in our area that I can.”