Homestead, FL (Sports Network) - Johnny Benson made a pass on the final lap of
a green-white-checker finish to win Friday night's Ford 200 Craftsman Truck
Series finale at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Meanwhile Ron Hornaday Jr. ran
a clean race and took advantage of Mike Skinner's wheel problems to clinch the
2007 Craftsman championship, the third of his career.
"This is awesome," said Hornaday Jr. "This Camping World Chevrolet team did
The No.23 Toyota crossed the finish line 0.600 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch.
The victory was Benson's fourth of the season and ninth of his Craftsman Truck
Jon Wood brought the 36-truck field to the green flag for 134 laps of racing,
while the two drivers still in the championship started fourth (Skinner)
and eighth (Hornaday Jr.).
Skinner got a great jump from fourth and passed teammates Benson and Jacques
Villeneuve on the first lap. He was determined to lead a lap early and get the
all-important five-point bonus.
But Wood was enjoying his time out front and built a two-second margin before
they even hit lap 10. However, a Justin marks spin on lap 15 quickly erased
On the restart, Skinner took the high line around Wood for the lead and the
points. So did Benson as Wood fell back into the grips of Hornaday Jr. who had
slid into fourth place.
Then Skinner suddenly slowed on lap 26 with what he thought was a flat tire.
The team changed the right-side tires and away went Skinner, but all the way
back in 36th place, one lap down.
Fortunately it was still early in the race, unfortunately, the two-tire change
was not the solution to Skinner's problems.
Benson inherited the lead, with Hornaday Jr. now up to second place.
Technically Hornaday Jr. was now leading the championship by 81 points.
The No.23 Toyota built the lead to an astounding seven seconds before the
first pit stops began. They were green flag stops, a rarity in the truck
series, because there were no caution flags.
Again on lap 74 Skinner reported a tire problem and slowed. As he was turning
down pit road, the left-rear tire came completely off. A disaster which ended
any shot at another title. The caution flag was out, but the No.5 Toyota team
couldn't quickly repair the damage taking the truck behind the wall for an
"I hated to see that happen to Mike," said Hornaday Jr.
Kyle Busch happened to be the leader when the yellow came out and he was one
of a group who pitted, possibly for the final time. Hornaday Jr. waited until
the final caution flag lap and topped off the tank with fuel to reach the
Skinner's crew got him repaired and back on the track by lap 87, but it was
too little, too late. Hornaday Jr. was up to fifth and not backing down, right
in the middle of the action.
Up front, the race was between Busch, Rick Crawford and Kevin Harvick. Benson
joined the group with 30 laps to go and then charged past Harvick and Crawford
for second. But he was having problems keeping up with Busch.
The race stayed green and Busch began to lap slower traffic but still Benson
couldn't close the gap. The lead was 1.157 seconds with seven laps to go.
A caution flag (Chris Jones) with two laps remaining set up a green-white-
Benson made the winning pass to the inside of Busch as they saw the white flag
to signify the final lap and Busch tried to fight back, but couldn't get it
done. In the final turn Busch scraped the outside wall but still managed to
bring his truck home in second place.
Crawford, Harvick and Jason Leffler completed the top-five. Hornaday Jr.'s
final championship winning margin was 54 points over Skinner, who finished
"He's (Hornaday Jr.) has done so much for my racing career, to win a
championship with him is something I'll never forget," said Harvick, the
winning truck owner.
The first race of the 2008 Craftsman Truck Series season is scheduled for
Friday, February 15th at the Daytona International Speedway.