Hornaday Conquers Kansas Speedway
Ron Hornaday Jr. won the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 in overpowering fashion Saturday at Kansas Speedway, starting from pole and leading 136 of 167 laps.
It was Hornaday's first win of the season and extended his all-time lead in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series to 34. He also took the lead in the points by 61 over Rick Crawford.
"This thing was just a rocket ship," Hornaday said. "It's a brand-new truck. You don't have trucks like that, it was awesome."
Hornaday surrendered the lead three times during yellow-flag pit stops and impressively drove the Kevin Harvick, Inc. Chevrolet back to the front in a few laps on each occasion. He was fourth following his final pit stop on Lap 108, regaining the lead in five laps and holding it for the final 55 around the 1.5-mile circuit.
KHI teammate Jack Sprague bounced back from a midrace mistake that put his Chevrolet at the back of the field to finish second, one truck length (.149 seconds) behind following a restart with two laps remaining.
Hornaday pulled away to a two-truck length advantage and was in control heading onto the backstraight. Sprague made a strong run going into Turn 3, but wasn't able to get alongside Hornaday and followed him to the checkered flag.
"Coming off the backstretch, all of a sudden he (Sprague) was on my rear end," Hornaday said.
Sprague, also driving a new truck built by KHI, pitted out of sequence on Lap 74 and steadily gained positions. He passed rookie Colin Braun on the outside in Turns 1 and 2 on Lap 155 to take third and moved up to second one lap later when second-running Todd Bodine spun in Turn 3 and hit the outside wall.
"We didn't pit when everybody else did, and we used our stuff up getting back to the front," Sprague said. "We wanted it bad."
Braun, in his Roush Fenway Ford, finished third but angered veterans Sprague and Matt Crafton.
Braun rammed Crafton's Chevrolet in the bumper and turned him into the Turn 4 wall, ruining a strong race. Crafton confronted Braun on pit row after the race, and Braun took responsibility for the mistake.
"I didn't want to get into Matt," Braun said. "I apologize. Hey, I'm a rookie and I make mistakes."
Sprague was attempting to pass Braun on the inside on the frontstretch when the rookie moved to his left.
"He came down on me and I could have let him crash," Sprague said. "I went around him on the outside. I told him, 'That was a gift, but don't mess with me again.' He has to stop running into people. If he wants to win, he has to have respect."
Bill Davis Racing teammates Johnny Benson and Mike Skinner finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in their Toyotas.