Benson's Toyota was too much for everyone else Friday
Johnny Benson claimed his second straight NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win on Friday night at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis, holding off the challenge of Ron Hornaday, Jr. during a final two-lap run to the checkered flag in the Power Stroke Diesel 200.
Benson has claimed three wins this season in the No. 23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota, all falling over the last four races. He was also the 10th different winner in the last 10 truck races at ORP.
Benson started the race eighth, the farthest back any truck series driver has started and won. Previously, nobody had won the event starting outside the top five.
Though falling short at the finish, Hornaday dominated the event, taking the lead from polesitter Bobby East on Lap 5. He led a race-high 153 laps before Benson swooped in for the lead by using the high lane in Turn 2 on Lap 162.
"There was no doubt we were the best two trucks," Benson said of himself and Hornaday from victory lane. "I started running his groove, it wasn't too bad. We made that pass on the outside of Ron. I didn't think it was going to stick."
Erik Darnell and Matt Crafton finished third and fourth, while Crafton's ThorSport Racing teammate Shelby Howard, who will make his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start of the season Saturday -- the first for NCTS staple ThorSport -- was a career-best fifth. The race also marked the first time that both ThorSport teams finished in the top five.
There were 11 caution flags through the event, with Kyle Busch again stirring up some controversy after he sent Chad McCumbee into the wall on Lap 136.
With 13 laps remaining, on Lap 187, Crafton got into Todd Bodine between Turns 1 and 2. Bodine hit the wall, also collecting Jack Sprague. The caution set up a restart on Lap 192, lining the field up for a single-file restart.
Hornaday was given one more chance to reclaim the lead as the 11th caution flag of the night dropped on Lap 195 when Benson's Bill Davis Racing teammate, Michael Annett, spun while pressuring Rick Crawford for the third position.
The final restart fell on Lap 198 of the 200-lap race. Hornaday gathered a final charge at Benson but his Chevrolet slipped high, allowing Benson to pull away.
Benson now leads Hornaday by 15 points in the season standings.
Brendan Gaughan, T.J.Bell, Busch, Mansfield winner Donny Lia and Mike Skinner closed out the top 10.
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