A night of mixed emotions for Kevin Harvick in Texas. He wins the race, but sees his driver’s chance at winning the series championship ended.
“I just want to thank all these guys,” Harvick said in victory lane. “They do a lot of hard work, and it’s nice to get them a win.”
Clinching the owners title for the No. 2 truck with the victory, Harvick puts a ‘cap’ on the phenomenal truck series career for his Kevin Harvick Incorporated team which leaves the series at the end of the season.
Harvick was able to beat out championship leader Austin Dillon on a green-white-checkered restart after the engine on David Starr’s Toyota let go with six laps remaining.
While Harvick and Dillon were battling for the win at the end of the night, neither driver had the ‘dominant’ truck.
Texas native James Buescher was looking to claim his first career victory Friday night as well as gaining on Dillon for the championship. Starting from the pole, Buescher was able to get out front early and lead the most laps on the night.
But his night, and his championship chase was turned upside down with five laps remaining.
Under the final caution flag of the night, Buescher’s truck ran out of fuel. Getting the truck re-fueled, Buescher was eventually lapped by the field under caution and fell back to the eighteenth position for the final restart, ultimately finishing the night in nineteenth.
After starting the night with a pass-through penalty for changing lanes on the start of the race, younger brother of the championship leader Ty Dillon was able to bring his No. 21 home in third.
“I need to apologize for that,”Dillon said after the race. “That was a rookie mistake and I’ll be sure not to let that happen again. Thanks to all these guys for the great effort tonight on the truck.”
A good run for the younger Dillon who moves to the Truck Series full-time in 2012, taking over brother Austin’s truck.
The race took a bit of a back seat to the incident only 13 laps into the 147 lap event.
Running side-by-side, racing hard for the second position, Kyle Busch and Ron Hornaday caught the lapped truck of Johnny Chapman at the worst possible moment. The two got by Chapman, but not without some contact. The two touched coming up-out-of the second corner, sliding up the track and into the turn 2 wall.
The caution flag flew and the ‘fireworks’ began to fly.
Busch ensued to hit the bumper of Hornaday, sharing his displeasure with him. Pushing Hornaday masterfully through the third and fourth turn, Busch turned the No. 33 of Hornaday into the outside retaining wall, ending both of their nights and Hornaday’s shot at his fifth Truck Series championship.
“This is just stupid,” said an angry Hornaday that just had his season all but ruined. “He knows I’m going for a points championship. He just drove me into the fence and ruined a perfectly good race truck.”
“He knew I was there. If I had lifted, I would have hit the slow truck (Chapman) and it would have caused a big wreck.”
“Kyle defiantly showed his immaturity,” team owner Harvick said regarding Hornaday and Busch “Just shows he’s a poor loser. At some point he’ll feel the pain. ”
“Yeah, it was my fault after the fact,” Busch said. “But who is going to fix my truck after I wrecked in Turn 2 the first time?”
“I’ve been wrecked four weeks in a row. I’ve had enough of it. And I retaliated. It’s certainly my fault for doing that.Everybody wants to say, ‘Well Hornaday is racing for a championship, just roll over.’ That’s not my fashion.”
“I’m out here to win a race just as much as anybody else is.”
Busch was parked for the night after the incident.
While the on-track action was ‘wild’ to say the least, the championship picture went upside-down about as quickly as a lap is turned at Texas Motor Speedway.
Going into the race, you could have thrown a blanket over the top four drivers in the point standings, being only separated by 15 points. But after Friday night in Texas, the gap couldn’t be wider than the state of Texas itself.
Staying out of trouble and finishing in the second position, Dillon was able to extend his points lead from 11, to a massive 20 point margin heading into the season finale at Homestead-Miami in two weeks. Having eliminated his hottest championship rival Hornaday, Dillon only has to contend with third place Buescher and second place Sauter.
With the increased lead, the championship is in the hands of the 21-year-old Dillon more than ever.
Now forcing Buescher and Sauter to have a near perfect weekend in two weeks, Dillon and his Richard Childress Racing team can go to Homestead relaxed, have fun and try to go capture another race win before Dillon sets sail to the Nationwide Series in 2012.
Results of the WinStar World Casino 350k at Texas Motor Speedway
- Kevin Harvick
- Austin Dillon
- Ty Dillon
- Nelson Piquet Jr.
- Matt Crafton
- Joey Coulter
- Johnny Sauter
- Ricky Carmichael
- Miguel Paludo
- Justin Lofton
- Timothy Peters
- Jason White
- Todd Bodine
- Max Papis
- Ryan Sieg
- Ross Chastain
- Cole Whitt
- Johanna Long
- James Buescher
- Jennifer Jo Cobb
- BJ McLeod
- Clay Greenfield
- David Starr
- Rick Crawford
- Jake Crum
- Jack Smith
- Blake Feese
- Parker Kligerman
- Johnny Champman
- Mike Harmon
- Brendan Gaughan
- T.J. Bell
- Kyle Busch
- Ron Hornaday Jr.
- Chris Jones
- Mike Garvey