Saturday, November 21, 2009

NASCAR Truck Series: Kevin Harvick Wins 2009 Truck Series Finale Ford 200

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

As NASCAR's 3 major touring series (Camping World Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup) concludes with Ford Championship weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. With the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver's title clinched by Ron Hornaday Jr one week ago at Phoenix International Raceway, Friday night's Ford 200 event might have been anti-climatic in the seasonal scheme. However, thanks to the less publicized owner points, a battle remained up for grabs. The accumulative points of the truck team, #33 KHI (Kevin Harvick Incorporated) Chevrolet team is under pressure by the #51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota through the combined driving efforts of Brian Ickler, Aric Almirola, Travis Kvapil, and most prominently Kyle Busch.

Perhaps the hardest hit of the three major NASCAR touring series, current economics conditions effected the 2009 Camping World Truck season. Reflecting on that note, Roush Racing (running under extremely limited Ford support for 2009) is set to pull the plug on its Truck series operation after 15 seasons of competition. In their swansong race, Roush's #6 Ford driven by Colin Braun took the pole for the 200 mile race around the 1.5 mile oval.

As Braun's Ford F-150 race truck took the flag for the Ford 200, the #4 Chevrolet Silverado of Kevin Harvick acted quickly to repeat his Phoenix performance of one week earlier. The #51 truck of Kyle Busch lurked closely behind the #4 truck in effort to steal the owners championship from Kevin Harvick's #33 team.

By midway through the event, Busch's mission appeared to be accomplished as Ron Hornaday was only able to achieve an average pace around Homestead-Miami. Looking prime to capture the owner championship for Billy Ballew Motorsports, Kyle Busch's quest was effectively ended on lap 82. With tire wear existing as a minor story as the race progressed, the #51 truck was claimed amongst the victims of a tire cut. Falling one lap down due to a green flag pit stop, the lost opportunity for the #51 Toyota team was compounded by a pit road penalty. Kyle Busch's best efforts resulted in a 13th place finish failing to capture any gain on the #33 team. In related news, Kyle Busch is widely rumoured to buy the Xpress Motorsports equipment to run with his own truck team next year meaning this could be Busch's final race for Billy Ballew Motorsports.

With 4 laps left in the Ford 200, 9 of the 10 remaining lead lap trucks, which included 1st place Kevin Harvick, made a surprising move to pit in the final minutes of the Camping World Truck Series as a result of the pace new tires have shown. This pit stop wounded up being a good decision by the #4 Chevy team as one tire displayed significant wear on Harvick's leading truck. The #17 Toyota of Timothy Peters, the only truck not to pit, gambled in favour of track position as the field braced for a green-white-checkered finish. Immediately on the green flag, Harvick used fresh tires and a perfected restart to pass the underdog Peters. As pursuers Matt Crafton and Colin Braun were left to deal with passing Peters' Toyota, Kevin Harvick checked out to win the Ford 200. Using a last lap move, the #88 Chevrolet driven by Matt Crafton skated by Colin Braun and Timothy Peters to take second place.

Crossing the finish line 8th, Ron Hornaday was officially declared the 2009 Champion concluding the year 187 points ahead of Matt Crafton. For a second time, KHI celebrated the double victory as Harvick and Hornaday threw up a tire-squealing smokescreen along with Homestead-Miami Speedway's front stretch.

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Please stay tuned to XSL Speed Reporter for the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Year in Review as well as the events leading up to the 2010 season.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Ford 200

Top 10:
  1. Kevin Harvick #33 Chevrolet
  2. Matt Crafton #88 Chevrolet
  3. Colin Braun #6 Ford
  4. Timothy Peters #17 Toyota
  5. Todd Bodine #30 Toyota
  6. Mike Skinner #5 Toyota
  7. David Starr #24 Toyota
  8. Ron Hornaday #33 Chevrolet
  9. Johnny Sauter #13 Chevrolet
  10. T.J. Bell #11 Toyota

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