Volume III, Issue 9, Page 37

After his dominating performance at the Sept. 6 Camping World 200 at Gateway International Raceway, Ron Hornaday Jr. may be well on his way to claim his fourth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title. The defending champ got his fourth win of the 2008 NCTS season and 37th of his career.

Hornaday started in the second spot and took the lead on the first lap. He led 113 of 160 laps in his newly built No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado owned by Kevin Harvick, Inc., and appropriately sponsored by Camping World/RV’s.com.

He passed Dennis Setzer in the No. 18 Dodge Ram truck to take the lead in turn 3 with 29 laps remaining and held on to take the checkered flag .646 seconds ahead of Setzer. It was Hornaday’s first win at the Madison, Ill., 1.25-mile oval in six events.

With 25 laps to go Hornaday was back in fourth or fifth spot and had to work his way to the lead. After the race, Hornaday was asked what he did to get through the traffic, seemingly at will.

"Hold your breath. Just drive it in deep there and hold your breath,” he answered. “Rick hadn't let me know where the guys were running all day. I'd seen that Benson got up to fifth one time after a pit stop and I looked up at the scoreboard and didn't let Rick know that, but I could see the scoreboard where everybody was at. Seeing him go back to seventh that was telling me that he wasn't that strong of a truck and I already passed Skinner and I'd never seen the eighty-eight (Matt Crafton), he was the only that I was concerned with and Erik Darnell because I didn't see him all race. 

“When we came out I knew I had to go do something. We were already two-wide with the lappers and somebody got loose underneath of the eighty-eight and he went up a little bit and gave me a run off him so I didn't have to race him too hard going down into three and he gave me the spot. Other than that I took them where I could take them. Just out-braking them, Rick Ren changed the brake system on this truck and really it just didn't allow comfortability to how far you can drive this thing in but NASCAR changing the gear rule, this gear uses a lot more brakes. So I'm real excited to go see what those brake pads look like.  It's been a good day for us."

Toyota drivers Johnny Benson and Todd Bodine finished third and fourth, respectively. On Sept. 2, NASCAR announced a rule change, saying all trucks must use a smaller tapered spacer under the carburetor that reduces horsepower. The only trucks affected will be the Toyotas, which could lose 15 or 20 horsepower. Toyota has had a performance advantage this year, winning nine of 17 races.

After the race, Bensen was less than happy with the changes. “We ended up all right,” he said. “But you could see out there that we were getting passed, and that’s going to make it tough for the rest of the season.”