Hornaday wins truck race in Homestead

Hornaday wins truck race in Homestead

Homestead, FL -- In only his second Craftsman Truck Series race of the year, Ron Hornaday pulled out the victory in the season-ending Ford 200 on the 1.5 mile track in Homestead-Miami. Hornaday, driving the ...

Homestead, FL -- In only his second Craftsman Truck Series race of the year, Ron Hornaday pulled out the victory in the season-ending Ford 200 on the 1.5 mile track in Homestead-Miami. Hornaday, driving the #11 Chevrolet, a team car to champion Mike Bliss, celebrated in victory lane for the 26th time in his career.

Hornaday, a two-time truck champion himself, noted the importance of racing to the finish. "These trucks are fast, the 16 and the 11. I was faster then Mike, but he was here to win a championship."

Mike Bliss.
Photo by Earl Ma/BRG.

And that he did. Bliss entered the Homestead race with only 32 more points over Rick Crawford in the title chase. He pulled out a fifth-place run and ended the evening by hoisting the 2003 championship trophy.

Bliss, known for his fancy footwork, exited the truck, showcased some moves atop his winning Chevy and vocally expressed his emotions. "Unbelievable, just unbelievable. I didn't want to think of this until after the race. I started tingling with about two to go."

Ultra Motorsports ended the year on a high note. Both Ted Musgrave and Jason Leffler closed out the season with a top-five points finish. Musgrave ran strong at Homestead, led twice for 96 laps and ended the event second to Hornaday. "Actually, it was a pretty good day for us. We started out on the front row and got to the lead right off the bat and led the most laps. The Mopar Dodge did good all day long."

Jason Leffler.
Photo by Earl Ma/BRG.

Leffler was unable to come through with a victory after running strong all year and leading the series with eight poles. With Leffler not scoring a victory this year, it ceases the streak the #2 team held of winning at least one event since 1995. He did however finish third in the season-ending race.

"We haven't won a race," Leffler said. "But we've finished in second place six times, got eight poles and had a chance to win a lot of races. It could've been a lot worse."

The season isn't completely over for the team pegged as the "Ultra Bad Boys." Both drivers will compete in the Winston Cup event on Sunday.

Robert Pressley made a triumphant charge in his Bobby Hamilton owned Dodge. After qualifying fourth and failing inspection, he and his team were forced to the rear of the field. He drove his Ram to the front and grabbed a fourth place finish." We had a little mess up there in qualifying. We got caught up on something, but it really didn't matter there. But heck, we'll take it."

Dennis Setzer finished a strong sixth. The driver who entered Homestead with hopes of a championship, Rick Crawford, fell victim to the one and only yellow flag. On lap 113 his #14 Ford crew were pitting the truck as the caution flew. He then got pinned a lap down and ended up finishing seventh. He closes out the season with a second place finish in the standings, 46 markers behind Bliss.

Spears driver David Starr announced he will be back with the 75 team next season. He ended the season on a high note with an eighth place run. Matt Crafton and Terry Cook round out the top-10.

Brenden Gaughan and Orleans Racing won the 2002 Raybestos Rookie of the Year title and closed out the season with an 11th place run. "We'll take 11th I guess. I can promise you next year, that we're a better team than that."

Gaughan closed out the season with some thoughts that other teams probably have on their minds as well. "We're going to find a primary sponsor, get more money than we had this year and come out ready to win a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship in 2003."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Bobby Hamilton , Jason Leffler , David Starr , Robert Pressley , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Dennis Setzer , Terry Cook , Rick Crawford , Mike Bliss