Three points. That’s all that separates Johnny Benson and Ron Hornaday in their quest for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title.
After pulling out a squeaker against Mike Skinner in the championship fight last season, Ron Hornaday Jr. goes into this weekend at Homestead in the number two position. With six wins this season the three time champion bests last season, but has struggled some, bringing his average finish to 10th. If there is one thing Hornaday has proved though, it’s don’t count him out.
With five wins and the same number of poles this season Johnny Benson is just a breath away from his first truck series championship. Benson has had several opportunities to widen the gap between he and the rest of the competition, but he too has struggled. Perhaps most fresh in everyone’s mind is the misstep last weekend at Phoenix. Benson has the momentum going into this weekend, but three points is nothing to overcome.
With owner Kevin Harvick backing Hornaday up this weekend, I would argue he has the upper hand. Anybody remember last year when Harvick blocked Skinner in on pit road? Ultimately it did not matter, but Harvick has proven he is willing to do what it takes to make sure his guy sits at the big table in Hollywood (Florida that is). Both drivers are sure to be up front all night and that could mean bad news for Benson.
Hornaday does historically have the edge on Benson, but since both men began racing full time (again for Hornaday) in the truck series in 2005, they have the same average finish of 10th. Benson here though has the edge as the returning winner of the race. The biggest problem facing him though is lack of teammate support on track. BDR has Taylor Malsam, Mike Skinner and Scott Speed entered, but it is unlikely they will be in a position to help Benson.
Whatever the case, either driver has a wide open chance at this thing. So if you’re looking for the best points battle of the year, don’t wait until Saturday or Sunday. Friday night’s truck series race is sure to be a best bet.