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Truck Trend

2007 Benson wins race, Hornaday Jr. takes championship lead Race Review

Our writers break down the race for you at Truck Trend Magazine. Inside you'll find stats, driver quotes, race results, and more.

NASCAR Truck Race Recap

Benson wins race, Hornaday Jr. takes championship lead

Madison, IL (Sports Network) - Johnny Benson captured Saturday's Dodge Dealers Ram Tough 200 at the Gateway International Raceway. The No.23 Toyota truck crossed the finished line more than one second ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr..

The victory was Benson's second in a row, third of the season and eighth of his Craftsman Truck Series career.

Mike Skinner brought the field to the green flag for 160 laps of racing, but his primary competition for the championship, Hornaday Jr., stayed right with him in the early portions of the race.

The No.5 Toyota led the first 31 laps until Hornaday Jr. pulled his Chevrolet to the bottom of the track and made the successful pass of the points leader. Skinner was either having a problem or trying to conserve as Benson also got around Skinner before they hit the 40-lap mark.

There were just 0.009 seconds separating Hornaday Jr. and Benson and Benson was still charging. He slid past Hornaday Jr. and the winner of last week's race at Bristol was back on top.

Then suddenly Skinner was forced to pull his car into the garage giving the championship a new race leader. It appeared to be a right-side tire that went down and sent him into the outside wall. The points leader continued to sit in the garage waiting for repairs to be completed. By lap 70, Skinner was already down more than a dozen laps.

At the mid-point it was Hornaday Jr., David Green, Regan Smith, Ryan Mathews and Ted Musgrave. But Benson was fighting his way back to the leaders. By lap 90 he was second again behind Hornaday Jr.

The leaders made their final stops on lap 109 and Green's No.1 Red Horse Racing Toyota crew got him off pit road in first place. Hornaday Jr. was second and again Benson's team didn't help the cause as he came out fifth.

Hornaday Jr. waited just half a lap before ducking to the bottom of the track and beating Green into turn three. Skinner returned to the race with 43 laps to go, but ended up finishing a distant 28th.

Benson again began to work his way up the ladder. He passed Ted Musgrave for third with 37 laps to go. Then a red flag for debris cleanup set up a 29-lap shootout for the win.

Benson immediately went to the outside of Green and it became a two-truck race. Twenty-four laps to go and Benson pulled right up to Hornaday Jr.'s rear bumper. The No.23 Toyota looked to the top of the track with 21 laps to go, but there was no opportunity. He kept at it and with 13 laps remaining, Benson got alongside Hornaday Jr., kept in the gas and made the pass.

Benson built the lead to more than one second as the laps dwindled to just a handful amd took the win in relatively easy fashion.

Hornaday Jr.'s second-place finish gives him a four-point edge (2,769 - 2,765) over Skinner in the championship after 17 races. The next race in the series is set for Saturday, September 16th at the New Hampshire International Speedway.

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