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Bodine Bookends Season With Homestead Victory

NASCAR Truck Series
Saturday, November 15, 2008

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Todd Bodine celebrates winning the Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It was his second Homestead victory (2005) making him the first driver to win more than once at the track.
Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR
Todd Bodine may have won Friday night's Ford 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but a pair of calls in the pits earned Johnny Benson a seventh-place finish—exactly what he needed to secure the series championship.

After pitting for four tires under caution on Lap 126, Ron Hornaday Jr. chased Benson to the stripe during a green-white-checkered-flag finish that took the race three laps beyond its scheduled 134-lap distance. Hornaday came home eighth, one position behind Benson and one position short of his fourth series championship.

Benson's team changed plans at the last second and kept the No. 23 Toyota on the track during that caution, and that decision proved to be the winning move.

Benson won the championship by seven points over his Chevy-driving rival and is the only driver other than Greg Biffle to win titles in both the Craftsman Truck and Nationwide Series. Benson restarted sixth and Hornaday 13th on Lap 130, and Hornaday gained four spots to ninth before Tayler Malsam and Jack Sprague wrecked on the backstretch to set up the two-lap sprint to the finish.

Bodine beat rookie Brian Scott to the finish line by .232 seconds, with Kevin Harvick running third, Kyle Busch fourth and Dennis Setzer fifth.

Johnny Benson celebrates winning the 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship with his No. 23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota team.
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR
"It was only fun at the end -- not at the beginning or the middle," said a delighted Benson, who fought handling problems early in the race. "If those guys didn't come in, I might have come in, but when they came in, I knew what he (crew chief Trip Bruce) wanted to do, so I stayed out. . .

"All these guys behind me that worked on this thing are great friends. We've worked very hard to make this happen. Tonight was about Trip Bruce making the right calls.

Hornaday had radio problems late in the race and couldn't communicate to crew chief Rick Ren that he preferred not to pit under the caution on Lap 126.

"It was an awesome day for us until that last call," Hornaday said. "We didn't know all those guys (trucks that came out of the pits ahead of Hornaday) were going to take two tires and get out in front of us. But Johnny Benson and those guys had a great year, and we came up one position short."

Benson's two-tire call under caution on his final pit stop gave him the lead with 43 laps left and transformed the race from ho-hum to humdinger. Benson held the lead for a restart on Lap 95 with Hornaday in tow. Less than one lap later, Busch stormed into the mix from sixth position and kept Hornaday occupied until he took the lead for himself.

On old left-side tires, Benson began to fade and had dropped to seventh by Lap 117. Hornaday surrendered the second spot to Scott but appeared headed for the championship before polesitter Mike Skinner's blown right front tire brought out the fourth caution of the race on Lap 124.

Notes: Bodine won his third race of the season and the 15th of his career and finished third in the final standings. He won the season opener in Daytona as well. … Though he won his first championship, Benson hasn't secured a ride for next year, having announced that he will not return to Bill Davis Racing in 2009.

Results

FIN

ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 18 30 Todd Bodine Toyota Lumber Liquidators 190/5 137 Running
2 15 16 Brian Scott * Toyota Albertson's 175/5 137 Running
3 3 2 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet American Commercial Lines 170/5 137 Running
4 9 51 Kyle Busch Toyota Miccosukee Resort & Gaming / NOS Energy Drink 170/10 137 Running
5 5 18 Dennis Setzer Dodge Rob Lambdin's University Dodge 155/0 137 Running
6 12 09 Travis Kvapil Ford Zaxby's 150/0 137 Running
7 8 23 Johnny Benson Toyota Exide Batteries 151/5 137 Running
8 4 33 Ron Hornaday Chevrolet Camping World/ RVs.com 147/5 137 Running
9 11 59 Terry Cook Toyota Team ASE / Harris Trucking 138/0 137 Running
10 7 22 Scott Speed * Toyota Red Bull 134/0 137 Running
11 6 99 Erik Darnell Ford Northern Tool + Equipment 130/0 137 Running
12 19 7 T.J. Bell Chevrolet SpongeTech / Home4The Holidays.org 127/0 137 Running
13 16 8 Chad McCumbee Chevrolet Malcolmson Construction 124/0 137 Running
14 2 6 Colin Braun * Ford Con-way Freight 121/0 137 Running
15 13 117 Timothy Peters Dodge Hayes Iron - Metal / Strutmasters.com 118/0 137 Running
16 25 81 Donny Lia * Chevrolet Randy Moss Motorsports / NationRides.com 115/0 137 Running
17 23 88 Matt Crafton Chevrolet McGuire-Nicho-las / Menards 117/5 137 Running
18 24 10 Brendan Gaughan Ford International Maxx Force Diesel 109/0 137 Running
19 10 15 James Buescher Toyota Ergon Hyprene 106/0 137 Running
20 14 60 Jack Sprague Toyota wyler.com 103/0 137 Running
21 22 24 Tayler Malsam Toyota Stocks for Tots / Bill Davis Racing 100/0 137 Running
22 30 11 David Starr Toyota Zachry 97/0 136 Running
23 31 08 Jason White Dodge Gunbroker.com 94/0 136 Running
24 32 212 Mario Gosselin Chevrolet James Carter Attorney / CrashedToys.com 91/0 136 Running
25 21 13 Shelby Howard Chevrolet FarmPaint.com 88/0 136 Running
26 1 5 Mike Skinner Toyota Toyota Tundra 85/0 136 Running
27 27 07 Max Papis Toyota GEICO 82/0 135 Running
28 29 40 Chad Chaffin Chevrolet Westerman Companies / Pollo Tropical Restaurants 79/0 134 Running
29 28 21 Keven Wood Ford Aquasun Motorsports 76/0 134 Running
30 34 185 Brent Raymer Ford VehiCare 73/0 133 Running
31 33 9 Chrissy Wallace Toyota Germain.com 70/0 130 Running
32 20 71 J.R. Fitzpatrick Chevrolet Mammoet 67/0 128 Running
33 17 14 Rick Crawford Ford Circle Bar Truck Corral / Power Stroke Diesel 64/0 64 Engine
34 26 276 Ryan Hackett Ford JandRSupply.com 61/0 27 Engine
35 36 157 Norm Benning Chevrolet Benning Racing 58/0 15 Oil Leak
36 35 0 Kevin Lepage Chevrolet ASI Limited 55/0 2 Clutch

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