Ron Hornaday, Jr. Comes up Seven Points Short in Championship Battle with Eighth Place Finish at Homestead Kevin Harvick Finishes Third in Final Race of the Season
Homestead, FL - With the usual drama and excitement of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, the final race of the 2008 season came down to a green-white-checkered finish pushing the scheduled 134 laps to 137 total. After leading four times for 37 laps, Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, looked to be in position to score his second consecutive and fourth overall championship.
But the race came down to tire strategy that put Hornaday in 13th place in the first of two caution flags in the final 10 laps of the race. Despite a hard charge to beat rival Johnny Benson, Hornaday fell seven points short of the crown, finishing second in the standings with an eighth place finish in the race.
Kevin Harvick, No. 2 American Commercial Lines Silverado, finished third in tonight's race in the KHI team truck to Hornaday.
At the conclusion of the 25-race schedule, Matt Crafton, No. 88 Menards Silverado, finished fifth in the season standings to give Chevrolet two Silverados in the top-five in the final points order.
Quotes immediately after the race ended:
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 2 AMERICAN COMMERCIAL LINES SILVERADO:
"Obviously it didn't boil down to one lap. I have no idea why they would have pitted especially with as good as Ron's truck did. But they had a great year. They did what they had to do to put themselves in that position. You knew it was going to come down to one call, win or lose. That is the way it goes.
"To see where the team has come everything they have done is pretty exciting to be a part of. They went down fighting. I have to find out the whole scenario, I wish it would have been a little bit different there. But I didn't know exactly what their situation was and it was a great battle down to the end.
"These trucks are a blast to race. I just have to thank everybody at KHI, they do a great job. These trucks are a lot of fun to drive."
RON HORNADAY, NO. 33 CAMPING WORLD SILVERADO:
"Every other track you go to (Kyle) Busch puts on four tires, runs the top and beats everybody. It wasn't the case tonight. A lot of them guys put on two tires and put us that far behind Johnny (Benson). I think we had to get five or six spots with a green white checkered. We got to him, we needed one more lap. But darn, frustrating year. We gave up so many points; I gave up so many points last week coming in to here that would have given us a cushion. It is racing; you never know what is going to happen. He could have won the race last week. You don't know. It is racing. I was proud champion last year and I know Johnny is going to make a good champion this year. I am going over a pour water on him now. It was a great season.
"It was a great season. It was pretty cool coming down to the end where we were both getting frustrated, we wanted to run in to each other but we didn't. That just shows what two champions are right there."
RICK REN, CREW CHIEF, NO. 33 CAMPING WORLD SILVERADDO:
"As a crew chief, you can't second guess yourself. Here's how you have to look at it and I have told a lot of guys. It takes 25 races to be a champion. It is not won or lost on one call, one pit stop, one mistake by me, a crew guy or a driver. It took all year.
"The cautions didn't go our way late in the race and Horn's radio wasn't working and we didn't have any communications. I couldn't hear his input. These tires fall off really bad, I thought four was the way to go.
"It was a great season. All our guys did a great job. Camping World is back with us next year. I want to say thanks to Craftsman for all the years they have done this. It has been a pleasure working with Craftsman."
KEVIN HARVICK, OWNER OF KHI, AND DRIVER OF NO. 2 ACL SILVERADO Finished 3rd:
"Man, those guys (driver, Ron Hornaday, No. 33 Silverado) put on a heck of a battle all year. We had a great truck tonight. The ACL Chevrolet was a lot of fun to drive and I had one eye backwards and one eye forward and Ron's stuff was really good and it just came down to pit strategy there at the end."
TALK ABOUT THIS SEASON AND WHAT IT'S MEANT SINCE THIS HAS BEEN QUITE A BATTLE BETWEEN TWO GREAT VETERANS IN THE TRUCK SERIES, BENSON AND HORNADAY "Yeah, it's been fun to watch those guys race against each other. Rick Ren (crew chief, No. 33) and all those guys at the shop have done a really good job of putting everything together. I think we've won 12 or 13 races in the last couple of years. The team is right where it needs to be and it's all you can ask for when you come to this point is for an opportunity. You don't like to lose, but that's part of our sport."
RON HORNADAY JR., NO. 33 CAMPING WORLD SILVERADO -- Finished 8th in race:
TALK ABOUT HOW TOUGH IT IS TO BE A RUNNER-UP IN SUCH A TOUGH RACE "It was a good race. Johnny (Benson) and I raced hard and that was a good call by Tripp Bruce putting two tires on. It's just one of those things. The Camping World Chevrolet ran good all night long and we just didn't have track position at the end. And a lot of them guys put two tires on. I've seen a race won with four tires on but that just wasn't the case with the track tonight. Track position was everything. It was a good call, but it didn't work. We just didn't have enough laps. That last lap, Johnny was looking pretty good and we weren't going to catch him. I'm on my way to congratulate that guy; what a good champ."
IT WAS QUITE A BATTLE AND OBVIOUSLY YOU NEEDED TO GET AROUND SCOTT SPEED IF YOU WERE GOING TO HAVE A CHANCE TO RUN DOWN BENSON. "Well, they definitely worked as teammates with Kyle (Busch) when he raced me when Johnny was up in the lead and then Scott kept me in the mirror just to make sure he slowed me up. The green was out and he just waited a long time to go. I don't know what you do in situations like that. It gave Johnny just enough for two or three trucks and maybe it would have helped coming up off the corner, but heck you don't know. I deserved it. After last week, and giving away all those points away last week, we could have came in here with a cushion and we didn't. It's racing."
THERE WERE SOME RADIO ISSUES ON THAT LAST STOP. HOW FRUSTRATING WAS THAT FOR YOU GUYS? "Nah, it's just that we'll work on them things and we'll have two radios in it; maybe two batteries in the truck and different things. But that's all you can do."
-credit: gm racing