MIKE'S BIO & HISTORY

Mike Skinner began racing at Susanville Speedway in the 1970’s in a Plymouth Road Runner at various California dirt tracks, winning three championships. He moved to North Carolina in 1983 to pursue a professional racing career in NASCAR®. He worked for Petty Enterprises and even Rusty Wallace as a tire changer before running a string of late model events and NASCAR Sprint Cup events attempting to prove his driving abilities to the industry.

Winning nearly 50% of his late model entries, Skinner caught the eye of Gene Petty who asked him to run for a late model championship at Carraway Speedway in 1994. They won the championship and many other races in the Carolinas which garnered attention from Richard Childress Racing to choose Skinner as his driver for the inaugural season of the new NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 1995. He won the first race in the series, and collected 7 more victories en route to winning the first championship in the series history. He equaled his win total the following season and finished 3rd in the standings. That year, he ran 5 races for RCR in the Sprint Cup Series, qualifying in the top-ten 3 times. He also filled in for teammate Dale Earnhardt when Earnhardt was recovering from injuries suffered in a wreck.

RCR promoted Skinner to full-time Sprint Cup racing in 1997 where he collected the Rookie of the Year honors. In his Sprint Cup career Skinner claimed 6 pole positions and a pair of exhibition victories in Japan when NASCAR raced in Asia for the first time since its inception. In 2004 Toyota announced its desire to join NASCAR and Skinner signed on to return to his favorite series, The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He is currently the only Toyota driver to run every truck event since its entry into NASCAR.  The partnership has been good for both as Skinner has accomplished multiple victories, pole positions and awards since their merger. Skinner’s desire to win another championship in the truck series is very aggressive and proves to continue many trips to victory lane.

In addition to racing duties, Mike Skinner holds a yearly charity event called “The Toyota Skinner Round Up” that raises money for charities in the Daytona Beach area. Fans, celebrities and sponsors all come out for music, golf, poker in an effort to raise funds for many good causes.  After the great success of “The Round Up”, he and wife Angela created their own foundation called “The Skinner Round Up for Charity” to continue growth of giving for their communities.

Skinner also assists various drivers and teams as a Driver Coach to mentor young talent to fulfill the dream he discovered in the sport of NASCAR racing.  


STATISTICS

Date of Birth: June 28, 1957
Hometown: Ontario, Ca (raised in Susanville, CA)
Residence: Daytona Beach , FL Statesville, NC
Wife: Angela
Children: Jamie, Dustin
Hobbies: Golf, Billiards, Guitar
Awards:
1995 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion Inaugural Champ
1997 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year
NASCAR Thunder Special Winner
1998 NASCAR Coca-Cola 500 Winner
2001 NASCAR Sprint Cup Gatorade Twin 125 Winner
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Statistics:
229 Career Starts 28 Wins 50 Poles 90 Top 5 144 Top Ten

MIKE SKINNER CAREER FIRSTS
WRITTEN BY: ANGELA SKINNER

Many say Mike Skinner was a twenty-year overnight success. With so many drivers now in Winston Cup just near the legal drinking age, it seems amazing that Mike did not get his true Winston Cup opportunity until the age of 39. There wasn’t a family mentor to follow, no rich dad or uncle to pay for a go-kart- just a hard working , dedicated man with a passion to one day race in the Daytona 500. Right: 65' Chevelle - ran as a dirt car in Susanville in 1978

In 1975 Mike Skinner was a well driller in Susanville, California. Back then, Mike was better known as a local pool hustler and renegade, so driving fast around town probably was a part of his weekends!

One evening Mike was run off a side road , resulting in wrecking his 1971 Road Runner. A friend convinced him to buy the damaged car back from the insurance company and turn it into a race car. The thought of racing would have never come about if that evening never occurred! Left: Mike & his son Jamie - Open Comp Camaro ran in the early 80's in California.

The local dirt racing fans at the Lassen County Fairgrounds in Susanville were the first to see a young Mike Skinner take on a challenge he would turn into a successful career! That night Mike led most of the race. With a half lap lead on the white flag lap, the right front ball joint broke coming off of turn two, flipping the car end to end three times and rolling it twice to then land on it’s roof! Instead of sulking, Skinner jumped out the race car and kicked it, leaving a broken big toe. Did I mention he raced that night in a pair of cowboy boots? Needless to say, Mike was a natural racer and went on to drilling wells by day and fixing and racing cars by night. He won three dirt track championships in the late 70’s. He also ran various open comp events throughout California up to 1983 when his then wife, Beth said, "Either be a professional race car driver or well driller"! Mike and his family packed up and moved to North Carolina to pursue a dream. Right: 1983 - Working as a tire changer on Rusty Wallace's Winston Cup car his rookie year.

Skinner didn’t get that racing ride once he hit North Carolina soil….instead he worked his way through the ranks by starting in the engine re-build shop as a shop hand for the Petty’s. He also changed tires for Rusty Wallace during Rusty’s rookie year.

1995 Super Truck Champion - Dedicated to becoming a race car driver and not mechanic, Mike started to venture out on his own. He actually made a couple Winston Cup and Busch races as a car owner for himself and for other owners. He started a body shop to make ends meet and then started racing late models at Carraway in Asheboro, North Carolina. After a track championship in 1994 with Gene Petty and many victories in late model stock cars, Mike started to be recognized as a rough, tough, no fear driver who needed a real chance in NASCAR. Richard Childress approached Mike in ‘94 to race a NASCAR truck. At first, Skinner had no interest in driving a truck, he wanted to race cars! Then he realized who just gave him the opportunity of a lifetime….Richard Childress Racing!

In 1995 Mike Skinner won the first NASCAR Super Truck Series race in Phoenix, Arizonia! From there, he carried the Goodwrench 3 Truck to sixteen victories, many poll positions and an Inagural Championship. Richard and Mike planned to race the 3 Truck for three years, but an opportunity to drive the #31 for Lowes Home Improvement came a year early. In 1997 Mike ran his first full season as a Winston Cup driver. The rookie season was a learning experience, especially after dominating in the truck series, but Skinner pulled off Rookie of the Year honors and a Winston Cup win in Suzuka, Japan.

Mike Wins in Japan! - I’ve never believed in superstitions, but troubles and no Winston Cup Points Victories followed Mike in the #31. Skinner started to be known as the Best Winston Cup Driver Who Had Not Won A Race Yet! It seemed Mike Skinner could win every non-points race possible, even come close to many Winston Cup points victories until one freak incident after another occurred to strip Mike from victory circle. We pretty much claimed we had the worst luck in racing until Chicago 2001. After surviving such a horrific wreck when a right front tire blew- Mike started saying I’m pretty lucky. " I survived! ".



More Beginning Moments....



Late model which Mike owned
in the early 90's.

Busch car ran for Gene Petty.  
Sat on the Pole in Charlotte of 1994!


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