Closest Ever Truck Series Race heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway
Great seats are still available for Ford Championship Weekend, Nov. 14-16, on Homestead-Miami Speedway's 1.5-mile oval. The NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series all will crown champions under the lights. To secure individual or group tickets for NASCAR's finale, call (866) 409-RACE or click here.
AVONDALE, Ariz. (November 7, 2008) -- Kevin Harvick held off hard-charging Kyle Busch to win Friday night's Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, as title contenders Ron Hornaday and Johnny Benson struggled to wreck-plagued finishes that left them three points apart with one race left.
Benson takes a three-point lead to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the smallest margin with one race left in series history. The previous low margin was Hornaday's 13-point advantage over Jack Sprague in 1998; when Hornaday went on to win the title.
Harvick, who owns the No. 33 Chevrolet that Hornaday drives, finished .941 seconds ahead of Busch, who had stopped for tires on Lap 130 and charged through the field to the second position. Todd Bodine was third, followed by rookie Brian Scott and Mike Skinner.
A succession of troubles dropped Hornaday to 25th and Benson to 26th at the finish and allowed Hornaday to trim three points from Benson's lead entering the race.
From Hornaday's perspective, the championship battle took a turn for the worse on the first lap. Starting from the pole, Hornaday raced side-by-side with Busch into Turn 3, and as the trucks rolled through the corner, the rear of Hornaday's Chevrolet slid out, starting a spin that would see the defending series champion slam nose-first into the outside wall.
Hornaday's truck slid down across the track, only to be broadsided by J.R. Fitzpatrick's Chevy. Benson's Toyota sustained damage on the right side as it clipped Hornaday's crippled truck on the way past.
"I was a little bit frustrated on that first lap, seeing that 33 turned around, but it worked out for us," said Harvick, who picked up the third truck series win of his career and his first since 2003. "In one sense, you think you've lost the championship, but it's never over till it's over."
After hasty repairs in the garage, Hornaday returned to the track 29 laps down and worked his way back to 29th before an accident involving Benson and T.J. Bell sent the points leader to the garage on Lap 87 for extensive repairs.
By the time Benson returned to the track, Hornaday had passed him for the 25th position, and neither could improve the rest of the way.
"I don't know what to really think," Benson said." It seemed like everyone was gunning for me and Ron. It was a bad night for both of us."
Don't miss out on the last AND BEST year ever in Craftsman Truck Series history at Homestead-Miami Speedway!
color="#000000">Great seats are still available for Ford Championship Weekend, Nov. 14-16, on Homestead-Miami Speedway's 1.5-mile oval. The NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series all will crown champions under the lights. To secure individual or group tickets for NASCAR's finale, call (866) 409-RACE or click here.