Hornaday Comes up Huge in Homestead

Three is certainly a charm for Ron Hornaday.

While Johnny Benson edged Kyle Busch for the checkered flag, Hornaday finished seventh in the Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday night to clinch the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship.

Hornaday tied Jack Sprague as the only three-time champions of the Truck Series. The two will become teammates next season when Sprague joins Hornaday on the Kevin Harvick, Inc. team.

“It comes down to great teams, and everybody here had a part in it,” said Hornaday.

Hornaday started the night 29 points behind Mike Skinner, who broke a left rear hub early in the race and finished 35th. That coupled with Hornaday’s finish gave him the championship by 54 points.

“When I saw Mike do that, I was like, ‘What’d he do?’ I didn’t see his tire rubbing or anything,” Hornaday said of Skinner pulling into the pits when the wheel trouble happened. “Hate to see it for Mike, but you know what? This is the only way one of us was going to win this thing.”

Skinner tried to find a positive in what was ultimately a disappointing ending to his season.

“Guys did a good job,” said Skinner. “I regret we didn’t have a spare hub in the pits. We took one off another housing, but as it came down, it wasn’t going to make any difference anyway.”

Skinner came up short in the furious battle he and Hornaday waged for the title during the final stages of the season.

“I don’t think either one of us can walk away from here tonight and say, ‘Ah, what a horrible year,”‘ Skinner said. “Because it’s been a great year, and we’ve had a hell of a lot of fun.”

While Skinner was suffering heartbreak, his Bill Davis Racing teammate Benson was picking up his fourth win of the season. Benson outran Kyle Busch, who scraped the wall in turn four heading to the checkered flag in a green-white-checkered finish, for his ninth career truck series victory.

The overtime was set up when Chris Jones spun out and caution flew with Busch ahead.

Shooting for his third win in the last four series races, Busch wasn’t pleased with the decision for caution that ultimately cost him the lead and the victory.

“Well it was just a caution by NASCAR there at the end you know,” Busch fumed. “It was really uncalled for, the guy didn’t even spin out.”

Benson left Busch in his rearview mirror as he sped to the finish line.

“I wasn’t the one that threw the caution,” Benson said. “That’s his gripe with whomever. But it sure made for a great event for the fans.”

Rick Crawford, Kevin Harvick and Jason Leffler rounded out the top five. And David Starr, Hornaday, Jr., Justin Marks, Regan Smith and Dave Blaney completed the first ten finishers.
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