Skinner reaction to death of teammate Dale Earnhardt
Both were drivers for Richard Childress Racing, Skinner was lost for words about the news of his friend's death. "I don't know what to say," Skinner told a TV reporter. "I can't believe it."
Initial reports said Earnhardt died of an injury to the base of his skull sustained in a crash on the last lap of the race.
For Skinner, a gear broken during a late-race pit stop, ruining his chances at driving his way to the winner's circle for the first time in his Winston Cup career.
Entering the pits in the lead pack with 48 laps to go, the former Susanville resident suffered mechanical breakdown while his pit crew was changing tires.
"The crew gave me strong race car. It just real shame something has to happen like this," said Skinner, who finished 26th. "We were knocking at the door. One of these days we're going to bust it in."
Skinner earned his fourth-place starting spot by winning one of two Twin 125's on Thursday, Feb. 25.