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Hornaday Clinches Truck Title

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, November 13 2009
Kevin Harvick and Ron Hornaday came up big winners Friday in Arizona.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick and Ron Hornaday came up big winners Friday in Arizona. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

RacinToday.com

Ron Hornaday Jr. clinched the 2009 Camping World Truck Series championship Friday night when he finished fourth in the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway.

The championship is Hornaday’s fourth in the series.

“Maybe I will have to build another trophy case,” Hornaday said after nailing No. 4 to the wall.

He got it by keeping Matt Crafton, who started the race second in points and 197 behind, behind him in the late going.

Crafton finished eighth.

Kevin Harvick won the race. The victory came under caution as Tyler Malsam crashed after a green-white-checkered restart. That left Kyle Busch second.

Too bad because Busch appeared to be ready to put a move on Harvick when the crash occurred.

“We weren’t as good as the 4 (Harvick),” Busch said. “We did the best that we can and that’s all that we could come home with. He (Harvick) kicked our butt pretty bad last year and we got a gain on it this year and that gain right there, we need another one and we’ll be able to keep up with them or try to at least beat him. We kept up with him tonight but needed a little more.”

Aric Almirola was third.

The result made for a double celebration as Hornaday drives a Chevrolet truck owned by Harvick and Harvick’s wife, DeLana.

“I am glad Kevin won this race, that is cool,” Hornaday said. “This is a compliment to the team.”

It also produced the old, season-end double burnout.

“To have Hornaday clinch the drivers’ championship and me win the race is pretty cool,” Harvick said. “I mean we got to do twin burnouts out there. I couldn’t hardly do a burnout; he definitely had me topped on that one. I couldn’t get my tires spinning. That was not good. But it was pretty cool anyway.”

The victory also set up the possibility of a weekend triple sweep as Harvick is scheduled to drive in Saturday’s Nationwide race and Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.

The championship makes Hornaday one of only four drivers to have won four or more titles in NASCAR’s top series. Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt won seven championships in Cup, Jeff Gordon won four championships in Cup and now Hornaday has his fourth in Trucks.

In trucks, Jack Sprague has three championships.

“I got one up on Sprague and that’s all that counts,” Hornaday said.  ”I said it out there (in Victory Lane), that Sprague needs to come back and try and get a fourth one and just keep me racing. Jack and I have been fighting for wins and championships back and forth and Jack had to quit and give me a little head start so we went back and forth and he had 23 then I had 24 then he had 25 so its just been a fun battle with Jack and I wish he was still out there because he is a heck of a little racer. I don’t know. ”

Earlier in the season, Hornaday won five races in  a row and appeared set to run away and hide in the points battle.

While he still was able to clinch his championship, he had to work for it down the stretch.

“If you look at the year, we had a pretty good points lead and then we ended up blowing a tire at Dover and Matt caught us. Then we had another bad race and ran out of fuel,” Hornaday said.

But, none of that mattered on Friday night at Phoenix.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, November 13 2009
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