On lap two of the Chevy Silverado 350k, Kevin Harvick, Inc. driver Cale Gale was involved in a five-car wreck that took him out of the race. On lap 147, Kevin Harvick’s other driver, Ron Hornaday, won the race and brought himself within six points of first place in the Craftsman Truck Series championship standings.
Kyle Busch was the class of the field all night. He started the race third, but before the end of the first lap, had taken the lead. He didn’t give the lead up until lap 51, when Hornaday passed him. But Busch quickly got the lead back when Hornaday made a scheduled green flag pit stop, and got shuffled back in the field when an accident by Jack Smith brought out the caution.
Hornaday spent the rest of the race fighting to get back to the front. When the caution came out again on lap 95, crew chief Rick Ren said he knew he had to make an adjustment his driver wasn’t going to be happy about.
Photo courtesy NASCAR
Ron Hornaday leads Kyle Busch late in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Chevy Silverado 350K Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.
“Every racecar driver has their pet peeve,” Ren said. “Ron Hornaday absolutely hates me to touch the trackbar.”
But that’s what he did, and it launched Hornaday to his second lead of the race, that he didn’t give up for the final 40 laps of the race.
“I argued with him until the green flag dropped and the thing was a rocket ship and it just went where it wanted to go,” Hornaday said.
Busch who finished second, was unhappy with a recent engine rule change to the Toyota teams that has dropped the trucks’ power by as much as 20 horsepower.
“It’s just hard to battle with those Chevrolets and those Fords with the way that we have so much drag in our Toyotas and less front downforce and all that stuff,” Busch said. “Yeah, I’m complaining, I’m bitching, I’m gonna do it, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. I’m tired of it. Running second every week isn’t any fun.”
Johnny Benson, another Toyota driver, raced in the middle of the lead-lap pack before making a late-race charge and hung out to his lead in the championship hunt with a third place finish. He agreed with Busch’s sentiment.
“When you sit there and run wide open all day long and they go by you like you’re sitting still, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it,” Benson said.
It was a bittersweet race for Harvick, who watched the race from Gale’s No. 2 truck pit box with fellow Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman, who won last week’s truck race with the KHI team.
“Obviously you get both ends of the spectrum, it’s not something you really want to experience,” Harvick said. “The biggest thing when Cale goes back and looks at the tape, just knowing what was around him probably would have helped prevent the situation.”
With just two races remaining in the Truck Series championship, Hornaday, the reigning series champ, continues to eat into Benson’s lead, picking up 25 points tonight. Harvick pointed out the team was closer to the championship this year than it was at this point of the season last year. Hornaday’s six-point deficient is 50 points better than when Hornaday left Texas Motor Speedway last year.
“I’d rather be in the position right now where we’re at, of chasing them down, because every time I see the lead, something happens,” Hornaday said. “We’ll just keep doing what we’ve got to do.”