Harvicks win twice at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Kevin and Delana Harvick were an extremely happy couple Friday night.
Kevin Harvick made a late pass to cap a dominating show to win the season-ending Trucks Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and wife Delana clinched the owners' championship when Ron Hornaday Jr. -- who had already wrapped up his fourth Trucks title -- finished eighth.
"That's the way to put an end to a year, right there!" Harvick shrieked into the radio as he crossed the line.
Kevin Harvick went into the pit after Ryan Sieg went into the wall and brought out a caution flag with seven laps left. Harvick took four tires, exited pit road first and lined up just behind Timothy Peters -- who took a risk by staying out -- for a green-white-checkered finish.
Harvick passed Peters in the very first turn after the restart and cruised to the win.
"I knew the 17 was a sitting duck there with four tires on our truck," Kevin Harvick said. "So, it was a lot of fun."
And then he and Hornaday went side-by-side after the checkered fell, sending thick plumes of white burnout smoke into the air.
The celebration was on.
"To close out the season like this, it's really what we wanted to do," said Harvick, also the winner last week in Phoenix.
For Hornaday, adding the owners' title for Kevin Harvick Inc. made his championship complete.
"To win the owners' title, you've got to do that," Hornaday said. "It's everything. You can't just win the drivers' title, because it takes a whole team."
Hornaday joined an elite list of drivers who have four national series championships, joining names like Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. Jimmie Johnson could get there Sunday, if he wins his fourth straight Chase crown.
History, though, mattered little to Hornaday on Friday night. This one, he said, was for his owner.
"To come here and win them both ... good night all around for KHI," Hornaday said. "Pretty cool."
"We were the bridesmaids a lot this year," Crafton said.
And when it was over, Kyle Busch -- who seemed in position to steal the show at times, plus looked poised to take the owner title for Billy Ballew -- was steaming mad.
Busch qualified eighth, then had to start at the back of the 36-truck pack because of an engine change.
Ordinarily, that might be devastating. For Busch, who came in with 11 top-5 finishes in 14 Trucks Series starts this season, all the lost ground was made up in about 10 minutes.
Instead, his real trouble came later.
Busch passed 10 trucks on the first lap alone, 18 -- half the field -- in the first three laps and was 11th by the time the drivers crossed the finish line for the seventh time. By the 25-lap mark, he was fourth, and when the first caution flag came out 18 minutes into the race, Busch was in second place, trailing only Kevin Harvick.
Meanwhile, Hornaday's No. 33 settled in nicely, not far from the lead but well ahead of the pack, teetering around fifth for much of the early going.
At that point, the only drama left was the owners' race. Kevin Harvick Inc. came in with a 60-point lead over Ballew in the owner standings, but thanks to Busch's worst-to-first climb, they were even at the midpoint Friday night.
It didn't stay that way.
Running under green with about 50 laps to go, Busch pitted to repair a blown-out tire -- and then got flagged for a rear-tire violation, forcing him to lose even more time by taking a pass-through penalty. It dropped him to 22nd, two laps down and at that point, an owners race that was even a few moments earlier saw KHI holding a 108-point advantage.
Still, there was one challenge left for Harvick, and that came from Peters at the end.
Even Peters didn't seem to mind the outcome too much.
"What a way to end a year," Peters said. "Just awesome to end the year on this note right here. We didn't have anything to lose."
Hornaday finished the season 187 points ahead of Crafton, the third-largest title margin in series history. Jack Sprague won in 1997 by 232 points, two more than Greg Biffle won his Trucks Series title by in 2000.
In the owners race, Delana Harvick's final cushion was 73 points over Ballew.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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