Fulltime NASCAR Truck Series drivers Ron Hornaday and Matt Crafton are battling for the season championship, but it was part-timer Kyle Busch who stole the show Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway.
Busch put a bumper on Hornaday to make the pass and take the lead on lap 97, and stayed out front the remaining 50 laps to win the Winstar World Casino 350 at TMS.
In the past five Truck Series races Busch has entered, he’s won, bringing his season total of wins in the Truck Series to seven.
After the race, Hornaday wasn’t happy with the way Busch passed him and said Busch hit his rear bumper at least three times, causing considerable damage to the rear bumper of his race truck.
“Kyle lifted me up pretty good down the back straightaway. The bumper is bent in pretty good. It is hard to race somebody that doesn’t make a living at it and doesn’t care about points,” Hornaday said.
Busch played down the incident and said he was only trying get past the No. 33 truck.
“I came off of turn two with a good run and knew if I pulled to his inside and went down into turn three, he’d side draft me and try to spin me out. I just bump drafted him down the backstretch to speed up the process to turn three. It wasn’t anything intentional to wreck him or turn him sideways.”
Busch said Hornaday exaggerated the incident and said it wouldn’t surprise him for Hornaday’s team owner and fellow Sprint Cup competitor Kevin Harvick to enter a truck in next weekend’s race in Phoenix to hassle Busch.
“I’m sure there’s going to be fireworks flying here at Phoenix and Harvick’s going to come out driving the [No. 2 truck or No. 4] or however many trucks he runs at Phoenix and we’ll have a whole shindig of them down in Homestead,” Busch said.
Crafton started from the pole, leading the first 20 laps, but on the first caution, his No. 88 hit a piece of debris and he got off pit sequence when he came in for fresh tires. He eventually battled his way back to second, but had to conserve fuel to make it to the end of the race and couldn’t get caught up to Busch.
Engines in the Truck Series have spacers that reduce horsepower and increase engine life. Toyota’s spacers are smaller than the Ford and Chevrolet spacers, because the Tundra engine is more powerful. The horsepower is more even, but the Toyotas get better fuel mileage – as much as four or five laps more on a full fuel run. So while Busch was in the lead, Crafton and Hornaday were conserving fuel in order to make it to the end of the race.
But both drivers refused to blame fuel mileage for not their inability to catch Busch.
“We picked the manufacturer we want to run,” Hornaday said. “We can pick another manufacturer if we want to, but Chevrolet’s been good to us, we won a lot of races with it.”