Kyle Busch drove the No. 51 Toyota Tundra to his fifth straight win in his last five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.
Matt Crafton, who is second in the standings, finished second in the race. Ron Hornaday held off Todd Bodine for third place, and Colin Braun rounded out the top five.
Finishing sixth through tenth were: Johnny Sauter, Brian Scott, Mike Skinner, David Starr, and Rick Crawford.
Crafton pointed to the initial yellow on lap 18 as a deciding factor in his run. As the pace car picked up the field, after Ben Stancill went hard into the wall off of turn two, it kicked some debris into Crafton’s truck.
As a result the No. 88 team immediately shifted the pit strategy to change the tires, which proved to be a good move as the tire had been punctured.
The move forced Crafton into battle throughout the night, after he had run away with the first leg of the race.
By lap 26, Busch battled Bodine for point, while Hornaday and Crafton were working their way through the field running nose-to-tail in 11th place. Six laps later the duo was up to seventh and eighth.
The No. 57 of Norm Benning slowed to a stop into turn 3 which brought out the second yellow of the night. Crafton came in for fuel only and stayed out on the second go-around.
On the restart, Crafton led the field to green followed by Jason White, Starr, Ryan Sieg, and Hornaday.
Hornaday made quick work of all truck ahead of him to pull into second behind Crafton. The No. 33 of Hornaday got a bit squirrelly in turn two as he was passing Crafton for the lead on lap 64.
At halfway, the top-ten was Hornaday in the lead with Busch, Bodine,Crafton, Skinner, Scott, Aric Almirola, Starr, Sauter, and Carmichael in tow.
The No. 12 of Mario Gosselin got loose running side-by-side with Stacy Compton. He did not have the chance to get the truck fully controlled before Hornaday went for the pass on the inside. As a result, the No. 12 ended up going through the grass behind Hornaday’s No. 33.
Beating and Banging Begins
Another round of pit stops left Chad McCumbee at the front of the field, with Almirola, Hornaday, Busch, and Bodine following in the top-five. Busch ran up on Hornaday and got the No. 33 loose after some contact from behind.
It took Hornaday three to four more laps to regain his composure with roughly 50 laps to go. Even in the post race interviews, Hornaday noted the contact with Busch.
“It’s hard to race someone who doesn’t make a living at this.” The comment was a not-so-subtle reference to Busch’s pro bono driving for Billy Ballew Motorsports, and the battle between Kevin Harvick Inc. and BBM for the owners’ championship.
“He can do whatever he wants. The rear bumper is caved in so there is no draft so the back tires are off the ground."
"Once you break the tires loose, and you are already loose and get down in three and four. Don’t know how I saved it because it just got completely sideways and once you do that and Matt [Crafton] can say that and any driver can say it, but once you piss the tire off and make it mad, its done for the rest of the night."
"I will take my hat off to Todd [Bodine]," Hornaday continued "...he drove me clean the last ten last ten laps of the race and we come home with a top three."
"So that is all we can ask for and we have got two more to go and Matt and I will race hard and put on a good show for the fans and one of us will be proud to be the champion of the Camping World Truck Series.”
A Touch of Drama
Rumors of fuel issues began to circulate through the pits. Crafton and Braun were among the frontrunners with fuel concerns.
Busch was running .94 of a second ahead of Crafton, and Hornaday was eight seconds behind Busch.
With ten to go, Ritchie Walters, Kyle Busch’s crew chief, insisted that Busch was at least four laps to the good on fuel, but five laps later, Busch radioed to say he had a vibration in his right front tire.
Vibration or not, it was Busch who brought the field to the checkers.
Hornaday maintained his lead in the point standings by a 197-point margin leaving Texas. For the final two races of the season, Hornaday has to finish 22nd or better to take home the 2009 Camping World truck Series Championship title.