by Reid Spencer
Ron Hornaday Jr. overcame an ill-timed caution to win Friday night's Chevy Silverado 350K NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway and trim third-place finisher Johnny Benson's lead in the series standings to six points.
Hornaday led the final 40 laps and crossed the finish line .958 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch to collect his sixth victory of the season and the 39th of his career. Benson passed Todd Bodine on the final lap to secure third place, and rookie Colin Braun finished behind Bodine in fifth.
"No matter what I do, Benson's right there," Hornaday said after the race. "So it's going to come down to the end of it."
With two races left, at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami, the race for the series championship is closer than it's ever been heading to the final two events.
"I'm pretty good at Phoenix, and Johnny's pretty good there, too, so we'll just see what happens," Hornaday said. "This is pretty cool. Two more races and we'll see."
Hornaday passed Busch for the lead for the first time on Lap 51, but five laps later, the defending series champion brought his #33 Chevrolet to the pits for four tyres and fuel. As Hornaday's truck sat on pit road, Jack Smith spun on the backstretch to cause the third caution of the race.
After the rest of the contenders pitted under caution, Hornaday restarted 16th on Lap 62 at the tail end of the lead lap. A caution three laps later helped Hornaday make up ground, and by Lap 91, he had passed Terry Cook for the fourth position.
Hornaday restarted in that spot on Lap 99, after a caution for Donny Lia's spin down pit road. Nine laps later he passed Travis Kvapil for the lead and drove away. Busch took second from Kvapil on Lap 109 but had nothing for Hornaday at the finish.