Newman overtakes Hornaday at Atlanta to win Trucks debut

10/25/2008 - NASCAR

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Ryan Newman passed Ron Hornaday in Turn 2 on the last lap at Atlanta Motor Speedway to win in his first Truck Series start.

Newman and Hornaday, both driving Trucks for Kevin Harvick Inc., traded the lead twice in the final eight laps of Saturday's race. The two raced side-by-side for a lap, with Hornaday coming out front on the next-to-last lap.

Newman then grabbed it back and Hornaday, locked in a battle for the series championship, couldn't afford to push the issue.

"I don't know if I can say it, but second stinks," Hornaday said. "I just missed the corner a little bit, that one corner off of [Turn] 2. If you miss it, you miss three-tenths to a half a second. He ran me down and he got the momentum."

Newman praised Hornaday for the exciting, trouble-free finish.

"He left me room, he could have pinched me twice," Newman said. "He raced me like a gentleman, and he's racing for a championship and I'm aware of that."

Hornaday, who started the day trailing Johnny Benson by 65 points in the standings, trimmed the lead to 31 with three races to go. A victory would have given Hornaday an additional 10 points, but he didn't fault Newman for not giving him the win.

"I'm sure if it was Kevin, he would have done that. But we're going to race hard like that -- that's what we're supposed to do, race clean and hard," Hornaday said of Harvick's standards. "That [number] 2 truck needs a win, that thing needs a sponsor and it shows that that truck is capable of winning.

"That truck didn't beat me. I beat myself. I missed a corner. They ain't gonna move over for me, that's for sure."

Harvick disputed Hornaday's belief that he would have given his driver the win.

"I don't think so. That's wishful thinking on his part," he laughed. "When it comes to winning races, that's what we're all for."

Denny Hamlin finished third and was followed by Todd Bodine, Scott Speed and Erik Darnell.

Benson was seventh and Kyle Busch, T.J. Bell and Brian Scott rounded out the top 10.

Benson salvaged what could have been a disastrous points day by rallying for his finish. He fell back at the start of the race, then didn't change tires during a midrace pit stop to move up to second place.

But the old tires cost him on the track and he dropped all the way to 17th. Hornaday was about to lap him when a timely caution for debris saved Benson.

"I'm still looking for the debris," Hornaday quipped. "I pushed my truck as hard as I could -- I took a chance of blowing my tires -- to make sure I put him a lap down."

Benson was baffled by his problems after a good practice session.

"We started the race and we struggled with something. We had something that was amiss and we just have to try to find it," Benson said. "We were trying all kinds of things because it wasn't going away. To run seventh, that was better than we ran all race, for sure."