Kevin Harvick and James Buescher jointly dominated the "Annual Winstar World Casino 350K" NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway, leading for 61 and 56 laps respectively of the 148-lap race on the 1.5-mile quad oval.

But when it came to the finish, Harvick was essentially gifted the win when Buescher ran out of fuel under a caution for fluid on the track with three laps to go, and duly slumped to 19th place in the final results. Instead, Harvick controlled a two-lap shootout with Austin Dillon at the restart to win by a comfortable 0.294s at the chequered flag.

The win is Harvick's 13th in 116 Truck Series starts - and his fourth this year alone despite making only nine starts in 2011 - but the first time that he has won at Texas. It means that the #2 Truck clinched the third Truck Series owners' championship for the Kevin Harvick Inc. team ahead of its shutdown at the end of the current season; it also means that Chevrolet win the manufacturer's championship, its seventh Truck title and its first since 2005.

But all of this proved to overshadowed by a dramatic on-track clash earlier in the race between KHI's Ron Hornaday in the #33, and the #18 of Kyle Busch.

The two had been racing for the lead on lap 14 when they came up on the slow #7 of Johnny Chapman running as low down as possible. On the high line, Busch appeared to squeeze Hornaday down into Chapman as fiercely as he could. The #33 got loose and ended up running up the track and into the wall, also collecting Busch and sending the #18 into the wall as well and bringing out the first caution of the evening. Both trucks were damaged but looked set to be able to carry on.

"This is just stupid," an angry Hornaday said of the initial incident. "He knew I was there. He had to lift, too. If I'd have lifted, I would have hit the back of that slower truck and it would have caused a big wreck."

Busch retorted that "Ron could have played it a little bit smarter", saying that it was Hornaday's choice to try going three-wide that had sparked the problem. "If you make it a three-wide situation, I can't go up in the dirt," he said. "I'm already on the outside lane. There's not three lanes out there right now."

Busch may also have leapt to the assumption that Hornaday had deliberately taken him out and that this was yet another example of KHI's ongoing vendetta against him. In any case, under the ensuing caution Busch put his nose on Hornaday's rear bumper, floored the accelerator and moved down until the #33 did a hard head-on spin into the wall. Ironically, the #18 was then caught by Hornaday ricocheting off the wall and was itself badly wrecked. Both cars headed to the garage area.

"He just drove me in the fence and ruined a pretty good race car," said Hornaday.

Busch admitted that he'd been angry at the original collision: "When he races up on my inside, gets loose and takes me up to the fence, I ended up losing my cool," he said. "I've been wrecked four weeks in a row, and finally I just had enough of it."

With the wreck being so blatantly deliberate - and under a caution - NASCAR briefly met with Busch and his team manager Rick Ren in the garage area and decided to exclude Busch from the race for the rest of the evening, although it's unlikely that he would have been able to make it out again with so much damage to the #18 in any case. Hornaday clearly felt that the penalty was inadequate.

"He's got to be parked," Hornaday insisted. "They did it to Harvick at Martinsville [in 2002]. If they don't park him for the Cup race and the Nationwide race ... He lives too close to me. We'll see what NASCAR does, and if they don't handle it right, I'll be at his house Monday morning."

"He's going to grow up, or he's going to have some swollen eyes," was Harvick's contribution.

NASCAR said they would meet with Busch again on Saturday morning to discuss the situation.

The crash badly affects Hornaday's hopes of racing to the Truck Series title this year, a factor that Busch himself pointed out: "I'm sorry it was Ron Hornaday. He's going for a championship, but the fact of the matter is you can't place all the blame on one person. There was two people that got into it to begin with, and there was two people that ended it."

In the championship standings, Austin Dillon took advantage of the misfortunes of his rivals to almost double his lead to 20pts. His nearest rival is now Johnny Sauter, who finished in seventh place on Friday, while Buescher and Hornaday both lost considerable ground.

Earlier on Friday, Dillon announced that he will move into the Nationwide Series full-time in 2012, driving for his grandfather's team Richard Childress Racing. He will be behind the wheel of the #3 Chevy, a car number made famous in NASCAR by Dale Earnhardt Sr. Childress stressed that the choice of number had been made with the full approval of the Earnhardt family.

"Before we decided to go with the #3, I talked to Dale Jr.," said Childress. "Dale Jr. is absolutely excited to see Austin take the next step. He's really proud of what he's accomplished and couldn't be prouder to see the #3 back."

Full Truck race results, qualifying and practice times available.