Kevin Harvick held off Kyle Busch to take the chequered flag in Friday night's Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway, but the big winner was Ron Hornaday Jr., who secured his record fourth NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship with a fourth-place finish at the one-mile track, driving the #33 Chevrolet owned by Harvick.
Harvick won the race despite bringing out the first caution, on lap six, with a spin off turn four. Hornaday, at 51 the oldest champion of a major NASCAR touring series, overcame an early penalty to claim the series title by finishing ahead of Matt Crafton, the only driver with an outside chance to overtake him.
Crafton came home eighth and heads to the final event Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway locked into second in the series standings.
In a green-white-chequered-flag finish that took the race one lap past its scheduled distance of 150 laps, Harvick won the race under caution after Tayler Malsam wrecked on the final lap. Aric Almirola was third, followed by Hornaday and polesitter Johnny Sauter.
"To see Hornaday lock up the championship tonight and (me) win the race, I don't think you could script it much better," said Harvick, who at one point slept on Hornaday's black leather couch when he was trying to make a name for himself in racing.
"I thought I had screwed it up there in the beginning. I thought I got in oil. I about spun out in the turn before down there and came down here and just spun out, and (crew chief) Ernie (Cope) said the tire was bald when we came in. It just kind of took me a while to get back in the swing of things. I had lost a little bit of confidence in the truck.
"We got a little tight and made an adjustment there on the last stop and just came on strong."
Hornaday broke a tie for most series championships with his close friend Jack Sprague, who is not active in the series this year. And even at 51, Hornaday is confident he can add to his championship total.
"We're not done," Hornaday said. "As long as Kevin and DeLana will still have me, we're going to win some more. … When you drive Kevin and DeLana's equipment, you feel like you're 18 years old."
On lap six, Harvick slid up the track into Almirola's Toyota and spun toward the infield, but neither truck lost a lap because of the accident.