Kyle Busch used a fast late pit stop to get the lead in the Heluva Good! 200, then hung on for the win and collected his fifth win of the season.
He benefited from Hornaday having to battle and bicker with Harvick for second, had a right front tire that was getting wobblier with each lap and would win by 0.560 seconds.
Seems Speed TV was wrong about a rivalry between Hornaday and Busch. It sure looked to me like Harvick is the one with a rivalry with Busch and gets possessed trying to beat him.
We saw arguably the best paint scheme ever at New Hampshire with Mike McDowell's No. 98 Perkins Police/Thorsport Racing Silverado painted like a police cruiser.
Inspired by Crafton's debacle at Gateway, the fact Kevin Harvick was racing in a third KHI entry and someone was scared.
Mike Skinner in the No. 5 Exide Batteries Toyota started on the pole. It was his second pole of the season and his 48th career pole.
Kyle Busch in the No. 51 Miccosukee Resorts Toyota started from the outside pole position.
Ron Hornaday Jr. in the No. 33 Copart Cheverolet started third, Austin Dillon in the No. 3 Bad Boy Mowers Chevrolet started fourth, and Kevin Harvick in the No. 2 DupliColor Chevrolet started fifth.
At race time it was 62 degrees and sunny. 36 trucks started the race and the pit window was 80-90 laps.
Pole winner Mike Skinner would elect to start the race from the outside position and not to line up in the inside position.
From the drop of the green on Lap One, you had four wide action on back through the field, and Skinner and Busch made contact twice as they battled side by side for the lead.
Skinner would ultimately lead the first lap, Hornaday fourth would be all over Dillon's bumper for third and Harvick lost fifth to Brian Scott in the No. 16 Albertson's Toyota.
On Lap Three, Skinner and Busch were still battling for the lead, Hornaday took third from Dillon and Harvick lost sixth to Johnny Sauter in the No. 13 Funsand/Rodney Atkins/Curb Records Chevrolet.
On Lap Four, Hornaday third was on Busch's bumper in second trying to make a pass on the low-side for the position, but he couldn't make the pass stick.
They battled for the position side by side. On Lap Six, Hornaday got loose under Busch but was able to save it and gather it back up without losing a position.
On Lap Seven, Todd Bodine in the No. 30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota lost power, made it to pit road and had no oil pressure.
By Lap Eight, Skinner led by half a second on Busch, Hornaday after getting loose was about a second behind the leader.
On Lap Nine, Harvick was on Matt Crafton in the No. 88 Menard's Chevrolet bumper for fifth and battling for the position.
Harvick had dropped back to seventh due to his truck being loose but corrected itself and he started to pick up positions.
On Lap 10, Harvick passed by Crafton on the low-side for fifth, under cut him making contact and crinkled the left front fender on Crafton's truck.
That would be the only occurrence of what happened at Gateway, which Harvick could have left alone and figured after practice that he would have left it alone.
After 12 Laps, the top five was; Skinner leading, Busch second, Hornaday third, Sauter fourth and Harvick fifth.
On Lap 17, Busch on Skinner's passed him on the low-side for the lead and Hornaday followed Busch, taking second from Skinner.
On Lap 20, Busch led Hornaday by 0.756 seconds and Harvick in fourth started to pressure Skinner in third.
On Lap 21, Harvick passed Skinner for third on the low-side and pulled away after the leaders.
On Lap 22, Busch led Hornaday in second by 1.185 seconds and Harvick in third close to 2.5 seconds.
After 25 Laps, the top five was; Busch, Hornaday second, Harvick third, Skinner fourth and Sauter fifth.
The field was lapped up to 24th position and about 10 trucks were already done for the day. This included Bodine, who suffered oil pump failure and was still in the garage area making repairs.
Busch over the next 10 laps continued to lead; his lead over Hornaday remained at 1.136 seconds.
You had some great three-wide action throughout the field behind the top five.
The best racing was Aric Almirola in the No. 15 Graceway Pharmaceutical Toyota (16th) and Terry Cook in the No. 25 Cajun Industries Toyota (15th) battling it out for those respective positions on Lap 36.
On Lap 37, Scott, running in seventh, pressured Crafton for sixth and he also let his crew know he was fighting a loose condition with his truck.
The first caution flag came out on Lap 38, for Tim Bainey Jr. in the No. 00 Aaron's Lucky Dog Chevrolet who suffered engine failure.
J.R. Fitzpatrick in the No. 4 Equipment Express Chevrolet was the Aaron's Lucky Dog winner.
Aaron's Inc. has a sponsorship agreemment with NASCAR in all three series, that under cautions until 10 laps to go, the first truck a lap down gets back on the lead lap and it's called the Aaron's Lucky Dog award.
Bodine's crew finished repairing his truck and re-entered the race on Lap 39 and is 33 laps down to the leader.
The leaders all pit, making the first of two stops taking either tires first and coming back a second time for fuel and adjustments.
On Lap 41, Harvick used pit strategy, stays out taking just fuel, adjustments and everyone else made a second stop.
Scott contacted Rick Crawford in the No. 14 Circle Bar/International Diesel Ford while leaving the pits. He made a third stop to check his truck, pulled out the bumper and restarted 19th.
On the Lap 42 restart, Harvick took the green with Hornaday on his bumper; coming out of turn two, they were side by side, but Horn was unable to complete the pass for the lead.
Busch passed Hornaday for second on Lap 43 and was right on Harvick's bumper.
On Lap 44, Busch took the lead from Harvick, making a pass on the outside coming out of turn two and had Harvick on his bumper coming back to the stripe.
On Lap 45, Harvick tried to retake the lead on the low-side but could not make the pass stick.
A lap later, Harvick moved over to let Hornaday pass him for second and started to reel in Busch, the leader.
By Lap 50, Busch led by 0.456 seconds on Hornaday in second and Harvick in third was 0.956 seconds back in third.
The best racing on Lap 52, was Scott in 18th and James Buescher in the No. 10 International Maxx Force Diesel Ford in 17th are battling for that position for the last couple of laps.
Coming out of turn four, Scott passed on the low-side and cut in front of Buescher for 17th, making contact.
Looked like Scott got the worst of it, crinkling his right rear bumper.
After 54 Laps, the top five was; Busch leading, Hornaday second, Harvick third, Skinner fourth and Sauter fifth.
On Lap 62, Busch still led Hornaday by 0.652 seconds in second and Harvick in third was two seconds back.
On Lap 66, Busch led with Hornaday on his bumper. Going into turn one, Busch chopped down hard-blocking Horn from passing him on the low-side.
The battle continued on between Busch and Hornaday for the lead, at times side by side and they raced through heavy slower traffic.
Hornaday finally took the lead on Lap 68, after using Max Papis in the No. 9 Geico Toyota as a pick to pass on the low-side.
After 72 Laps, the top five was; Hornaday leading, Busch second, Harvick third, Skinner fourth and Sauter fifth.
On Lap 79, Hornaday led by close to a second on Busch in second and Harvick in third was 1.6 seconds back. He was also the fastest truck on the track at this point and had the oldest tires.
By Lap 80, Hornaday continued to pull away, leading by 1.108 seconds on Busch.
Scott made it up to 16th place on Lap 82, they needed to use pit strategy on the last stop to get him back up to the front.
On Lap 85, the best racing was Almirola in 10th battling Dillon in ninth for that position and both ran great races today.
On Lap 86, Almirola passed Dillon. What an awesome race Dillon has run so far, in only his second start.
On Lap 88, Hornaday still led, but Busch started to catch him as he was running in heavy traffic and only 18 trucks were on the lead lap.
After 90 laps, the top five was; Hornaday, Busch second, Harvick third, Skinner fourth and Sauter fifth.
The second caution came out on Lap 93, for Rob Fuller in the No. 71 Draco Springs getting loose and spinning into the outside wall.
Buescher was the Aaron's Lucky Dog winner under this caution.
On Lap 95, everyone pitted, making the first of two stops for tires, then for fuel and adjustments.
Hornaday, Skinner and Busch made fuel-only stops. Along with Harvick, the three had an extra set of tires to put on later in the race and the rest of the field didn't, since they have only two sets of tires for the race.
After pit stops, the top five was; Hornaday, Skinner second, Busch third, McDowell fourth and Bell fifth.
The race would be red-flagged for 8 minutes, 45 seconds due to the wall needing to be repaired were Fuller hit the wall hard enough to damage it.
On the Lap 98 restart, Hornaday took the green and pulled away by two truck lengths on Skinner who was pressured by Busch in third.
On Lap 100, Hornaday led by three truck lengths on Skinner in second and Busch third broke away from the rest of the field.
On Lap 102, the best racing was David Starr in the No. 24 Zachry/Harris Trucking Toyota in 13th and Dillon in 14th battling for those two positions.
Dillon on the apron made a three-wide pass of Starr with Papis on the high side.
On Lap 104, Hornaday continued to lead, Busch passed Skinner for second and Crafton in fourth was on Skinner's bumper.
On Lap 106, Harvick passes McDowell for fifth and he was the fast truck on the track at this point of the race.
On Lap 108, the best racing was Sauter in 11th, passing both Scott in 10th and Colin Braun in the No. 6 Con-Way Freight Ford in ninth, and Sauter picked up ninth.
After 110 laps, the top five was; Hornaday, Busch second, Skinner third, Crafton fourth and Harvick fifth.
By Lap 116, Hornaday led by 0.985 seconds on Busch in second and close to two seconds on Skinner in third.
Busch radioed his crew that he was overheating, to check the grill if he's picked up any trash and he had water coming out of the overflow valve.
He picked up a windshield tear away that was covering his intake cover, may try to run up on a slower car to get it off or may have to make a green flag pit stop to get it cleaned off.
On Lap 120, Hornaday still led, Busch still had trash on his grill. Skinner, Harvick and Crafton, third through fifth, ran together and started to pressure each other.
On Lap 123, Hornaday had more laps than Busch and put himself in position for the five extra bonus points for leading the most laps.
By Lap 124, Skinner in third and Harvick in fourth pulled away from Crafton by a few truck lengths.
On Lap 125, Busch would ran down across the rear end of Norm Benning in the No. 57 Unsponsored Chevrolet and got the tear away off his grill.
After 127 laps, the top five was; Hornaday, Busch second, Skinner third, Harvick fourth and Crafton fifth.
By Lap 134, Hornaday led Busch in second by 1.250 seconds and Harvick in third by 3.819 seconds.
The best racing was Bell in ninth and Braun in 10th battling it out for those two positions and the past three laps they were side by side going at it.
On Lap 139, Hornaday stretched it to 1.589 seconds over Busch. The best racing was Starr in 15th battling Dillon in 16th.
On Lap 141, Crafton in fourth and Sauter in fifth started battling. A lap later, Sauter took fourth using the low-side to pass Crafton and pulled away.
On Lap 143, Hornaday still led, Harvick took second as he passed Busch on the low-side 1.5 seconds behind the leader.
On Lap 145, Hornaday led by close to a 1.5 second on Harvick in second. Horn's crew chief Rick Ren let him know they won't put tires on as they have passed the point of them being beneficial.
After 146 laps, the top five was; Hornaday leading by a second, Harvick second, Busch third, Sauter fourth and Crafton fifth.
By Lap 153, Hornday and Harvick battled for the lead, side by side for almost three laps now and it was the best battle on the track.
On Lap 154, Horn on the high-side hung onto the lead, as Harvick got under him but couldn't complete the pass.
Hornaday and Harvick continued to battle for the lead, at times side by side but Horn held the lead on the high-side.
On Lap 157, Sauter in fourth was the fastest truck on the track, Horn and Harvick battled for the lead and even Busch in third started to catch the two.
Hornaday called his spotter Rick Carelli to let Harvick's spotter know to tell him pass if he's going to or stop holding him up.
On Lap 158, Hornaday still leads, Sauter took third, passing Busch and started to reel in the leaders.
On Lap 160, Hornaday and Harvick still battled for the lead, side by side at times and Horn kept the lead on the high-side.
On Lap 162, Horn led with Harvick in second on his bumper and Sauter in third was only a second back now.
After 164 laps, the top five was; Hornaday, Harvick second, Sauter third, Busch fourth, and Crafton fifth.
On Lap 169, Harvick started green flag pit stops and came to pit road for a fuel stop.
On Lap 170, Hornaday and Crafton both come to pit road and made fuel stops.
On Lap 171, Sauter stayed out to lead but ran out of fuel and limped around to pit road. He was out of competing for the win and had to race hard for a decent finish.
On Lap 172, Busch pitted for his fuel stop; he took less fuel and got out faster than either Hornaday or Harvick did on their stops.
On Lap 173, Skinner came to pit road for fuel, Hornaday was 11th and Harvick was 13th.
On Lap 175, both Braun and Stacy Compton in the No. 60 SafeAuto Insurance Toyota came to pit road for fuel.
Busch is third, Hornaday had Harvick right behind him, and they tried to catch him.
By Lap 180, Busch led, Starr ran in second but needed to pit, Hornaday was third and Harvick fourth, catching Starr.
On Lap 181, Starr came to pit road for fuel and thus ends green flag pit stops.
On Lap 182, Busch led by 2.4 seconds on Hornaday in second and Harvick in third is on his bumper.
On Lap 183, Harvick says over the radio, to tell Hornaday to let him pass and go for the win. A lap later Harvick calls for a team meeting post race as Hornaday doesn't roll over.
On Lap 185, Busch leads, Hornaday's second has Harvick in third on his bumper and if they work together they would catch Busch.
The third caution came out on Lap 188 for debris in turn three and four. Starr got the Aaron's Lucky Dog award under the caution. Skinner came to pit road for tires and a few other also pit.
Under caution, the top five was; Busch leading, Hornaday second, Harvick third, Crafton fourth and Almirola fifth.
On the Lap 193 restart, Busch took the green and got a good start on Hornaday about a two truck length lead and Harvick didn't start good.
On Lap 194, Busch led Hornaday in second by 0.350 seconds and Almirola took fourth passing Crafton.
On Lap 195, Busch led with Hornaday in second getting challenged by Harvick in third and Almirola lost his ignition.
On Lap 196, Busch led, Hornaday in second had Harvick tried to pass him for the lead but he couldn't make the pass stick on the low-side.
A shame that Delana did grab a radio, then tell Harvick the Championship is more important, then you win and if you helped Horn, we get the win.
On Lap 197, Busch led, Hornaday in second had Harvick on his bumper.
On Lap 198, Busch led by two truck lengths on Hornaday, Harvick on his bumper got loose and lost ground to the leaders.
On the white flag lap, Busch just needed to make it around for the win, led Hornaday in second by 0.753 seconds and Harvick in third sat on his bumper.
Busch came around and took the checkers, beating Hornaday by 0.520 seconds, led 75 laps today and got his third consecutive win in races he's entered.
He bowed for the fans, got the checkers, saluted the fans with a burnout and stole a win gambling on pit road as his truck ran out of fuel heading to Victory Lane.
No sooner did Hornaday stop, when Harvick still with his helmet on was leaning in his truck talking to him.
Speed TV talked to both, Harvick was pissed that Hornaday didn't let him by so he could win the race but Hornaday was happy with second and didn't know what he did wrong.
Of which 10 come from bonus points, it's a 115 to 30 now and really stresses the importants of collecting as many as you can.
Ron Hornaday led 101 laps today, gained 22 points on Crafton in a runner-up preformance and with six to go it's a 217-point cushion.
Kevin Harvick finished third, led three laps, acted like a two-year-old post-race since he needed to feed his ego by beating Busch. But had he worked with Horn in the closing laps, they could have chased down Busch and tried to pass for the win.
Matt Crafton finished fourth, never lead a lap but ran top-10 the entire race and while he gave up some ground, at least he behaved himself.
Johnny Sauter finished fifth, ran a great race got as high as third, rebounded from running out of fuel to collect his fourth top five in a row.
Sixth through 10th were; Stacy Compton, Brian Scott, Mike Skinner, Colin Braun and Mike Skinner.
Here's a few quotes from Harvick and Hornaday.
"The communication between the spotter and the crew chief wasn't relayed to the driver very clear," Harvick said.
"I felt like one of the two trucks should have won the race. I felt like we were a little bit better truck, but you can't put yourself in position to do something underneath him [Hornaday] that would be detrimental to his championship chase."
"It's just somethings internally that we probably need to work on there. Second and third [Saturday] is still a good day, a good day for [Hornaday] in the championship race, but I feel like we didn't do what we needed to do."
Talk about contradicting yourself, with these two comments and seems like Harvick has become a possessed man whenever he races Busch in Nationwide or Trucks.
I would think winning a Championship would be more important for him, rather than winning a race.
Especially when that driver Hornaday's happy with getting second, gained points and actually had Happy helped him, they probably could have caught Busch or run him out of gas.
Now, Hornaday was priceless with this this quote and I think he was more pissed at Harvick than he was with Crafton judging by his facial expression.
"It was a good day...until after the race," Hornaday said.
"He [Harvick] got up to me three or four times and I backed off. He ran underneath me. I don't know if he was getting loose or whatever underneath me. I had older tires. I didn't have fresher tires. But I'll take second."
"I don't know what I done wrong."
The points now have Hornaday leading by 217 points over Crafton in second and 246 over Skinner in third.
The next race is; Sept. 26: Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Speed at 9:00 p.m. the Set-Up Show and 9:30 p.m. Race Time (Saturday).
Source for this article are my race notes, any mistakes are my own, the quotes come from nascar.com and sorry for the delay on posting this one.
Was watching my beloved Bears beat the reigning Super Bowl champs the Steelers and it just slowed me down typing.
Photo Credit: nascar.com