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Harvick wins Lucas Oil 150

Nov 8, 2008 - 3:54 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- While championship points leaders Ron Hornaday Jr. and Johnny Benson were wrecking, Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Speedway in a Chevrolet on Friday.

Winning the pole for the next-to-last race of the season proved a bad omen for Hornaday.

Heading into the race six points behind Benson, Hornaday started on the front row and saw his night go up in desert smoke after a crash on the opening lap.

Hornaday's Chevrolet was under Kyle Busch's Toyota and moved up the track, causing a wreck that sent him to the garage.

"Kyle was on the outside," Hornaday said. "I knew he was there. He was racing me hard. He didn't do it. The air did it."

Benson did not escape unscathed, but after a couple of pit stops, he started to pick off trucks and points. His troubles came later on lap 87, when his Toyota crashed with T.J. Bell's Chevrolet.

After some spectacular work, Hornaday returned to the track on lap 31 in a damaged but apparently functional truck. He was 28 laps down in 32nd place.

Meanwhile, Busch had the dominant truck. He led the first 55 laps before Harvick took control on the 56th.

Busch moved back to the front after a series of pit stops under caution.

On lap 87, the accident bug bit Benson as he was sent to the pits after wrecking with Bell.

Benson, who was on the inside, had his truck move up toward Bell. There was a lot of damage to the right side of the vehicle, forcing his team to burst into action.

"I was trying to be patient but ended up at the wrong place at the wrong time," Benson said. "We're just trying to make it exciting."

As they ran to that point, Benson had a 51-point lead over Hornaday. While the work was done in the pits, the advantage dwindled to 21 points.

Benson's crew then surveyed the damage and realized they had to take the truck behind the wall to replace a rotor.

In the actual battle for the race, Harvick again overtook Busch for the point on lap 100.

Benson returned to the track with 23 laps left and a three-point lead over Hornaday in the standings. His truck hit the wall, creating more tire issues and forcing him back to the pits.

The caution flag waved with 15 laps left. On the previous one, Busch had taken new tires, putting himself in position to make a charge at Harvick, who stayed out on the track.

The race went green with nine laps left. Busch quickly split two cars to move into fourth place and quickly took second with four laps remaining.

But time ran out, and Harvick held on for the checkered flag.

"This is great," Harvick said after his truck won its third straight race with three different drivers. "A little frustrating to see (Hornaday's 33 truck that I own) turned around on the first lap. But it worked out. We won and they gained a few points."

Hornaday finished 25th, while Benson came in 26th.

"It was horrible for both of us," Benson said. "I don't know what happened to Ron (on the first lap), but he caught us."

Benson holds a three-point advantage over Hornaday in the standings as they head to Homestead next week for the final race of the year.

"It will be the guy with the least problems," Hornaday said of the battle at Homestead. "Three points. ... I don't believe it."

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