CRAFTSMAN TRUCK Power Stroke Diesel 200

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Benson victorious in Power Stroke Diesel 200

Jul 26, 2008 - 4:59 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Johnny Benson extended his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points lead the best way possible - by winning a race.

Benson posted his second consecutive win and third in four races Friday, capturing the Power Stroke Diesel 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park.

Benson also won the Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway last week.

Entering with a one-point edge over Matt Crafton and a five-point advantage over Ron Hornaday Jr., Benson stretched his lead by nipping Hornaday by .484 seconds in a Toyota. With the victory, Benson moved 15 points ahead of Hornaday, who finished second in a Chevrolet, and 31 in front of Crafton, who was fourth in a Chevy.

"It's a long year yet," Benson said. "We're 15 points up now, but it's not enough by any means. We'll take it, though. The No. 23 for two years has been a championship team, but we haven't been able to get it done."

In claiming his 12th career series win, Benson - who started in the eighth spot - overtook Hornaday on the 162nd lap following a restart and maintained the lead.

"Ron ran a great race, he really did," Benson said. "But I was kind of watching what he was doing, watching his line, trying not to heat up my Goodyears too bad. So I just waited and bought my time."

The winner here last year, Hornaday led the pack for a total of 153 laps, including all but eight of the first 162 of the 200-lap race.

"We really wanted to win this one," said Hornaday, who posted his seventh top-five finish of the season. "But Johnny had the dominant truck all day. He just rolled great through the middle. I will take second to him anytime here, but darn, just a little frustrated.

"I think we led the most laps, so I don't think he gained too many points on us. We still have a lot of races left and I'm proud we brought this (car) home in one piece."

Erik Darnell was third in a Ford, while Shelby Howard rounded out the top five in a Chevrolet for his career-best finish.

"It was a pretty good night," Darnell said. "We just kind of missed it. ... I'm a little disappointed to run the way we did at the end, but we got another top-five out of it. ... We've got to keep knocking out these top-fives and try to make up points on these guys to get back in the championship hunt."

"This was a good night for us," Howard said. "The guys worked hard. They gave me a good piece."

Bobby East, who claimed his first career pole earlier in the day, finished 19th in a Ford.

The race featured a record-tying 11 cautions, including nine after the midway point.

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