Following a pit stop with 50 laps to go, Clint Bowyer beat Kyle Busch off pit road and never looked back as he won the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway.
“When Kyle got up there, I had to get back up on the wheel and fight for it,” Bowyer said after the race. “I knew he’d get the truck fixed and be up there.”
The caution came out with 50 to go, following an incident involving Austin Dillon and Ron Hornaday. Dillon was trying to pass Hornaday when he got loose and tagged Hornaday.
Hornaday, who just signed a multi-year contract with Kevin Harvick Incorporated, hasn’t had the year he’s wanted as a result of bad luck.
“We just keep wrecking,” Hornaday of his sixth DNF of the year. “Its not because of bad trucks. I just got to put myself in better situations.”
“I was getting under Ron there and got loose,” Dillon said. “Appologies to Ron, KHI and all the guys that work on those trucks.”
Bowyer became the fourth different driver to win for Kevin Harvick Incorporated this year, with the other three being Hornaday, Kevin Harvick and Elliott Sadler.
Busch finished second, extending his team’s lead in the owner’s championship standings to 120 points over Germain Racing.
“We were racing for the win but there in the beginning, we didn’t have the tundra we were looking for,” Busch said afterwards. “But there in the middle, Eric got to where we were competitive and could run up there. There at the end, couldn’t get up there. Bowyer had the field covered.
“Second is disappointing, however looking at the overall picture, we’re doing good.”
Johnny Sauter finished third followed by Matt Crafton and Aric Almirola.
“Consistancy is the key for sure,” Sauter said aftwards. “I’m just proud of all the guys at Thorsport…..They say consistancy will lead to wins. Had things gone differently at the beginning of the year, we could’ve made a run for the championship but congrats to Todd.”
“It was really good on the long run, but for some reason, we just got on the splitter really hard,” Crafton said. “Very disappointing considering how good the truck was in practice and the fact that we thought we could win the race.”
The spotlight for the night shined on Todd Bodine though as with his 12th-place finish, he clinched the 2010 Camping World Truck Series Driver’s Championship.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Bodine said afterwards. “It’s a little disappointing due to our performance tonight., But it shows the performance of this team due to how good we were all year. Yes, we got four wins yet the top five are what matter and that consistancy that that we had.”
“With the way we were able to run all year, it allowed us to be able to clinch this championshp early so I can’t thank these guys enough,” Crew Chief Mike Hillman Jr. said after the race. “We went from not knowing if we’d make every race to becoming champions.”
“I’m just really proud of Germain Racing,” General Manager Mike Hillman Sr. said. “Great to have my son excel the way he has. Great to see him and Todd jell like they have. I’m just really proud of everything the Germain Brothers have done with this team.”
Bodine and Germain Racing have experienced their share of struggles, including the lack of sponsorship for this season.
“We did this without a sponsor,” Bodine said. “We’ve got Germain Racing on the side but that’s three guys who really care about this team. They funded this all year and knew that they’d do it whether able to get a sponsorship or not.”
“I’m excited to be representing all of our employees and Germain Racing,” owner Steve Germain said. “A lot of things have gone our way, though a lot has not.”
A couple different sponsors jumped on board, though for the majority of the year, it was the Germain brothers paying to run the race team out of their own pockets.
“For those guys who have been here more than one year, thank you for sticking with us,” Hillman Jr. said to his guys on the radio after the race. “Thank you for the great year. That’s why these guys have worked this hard all year long. I can’t thank everybody on this Germain Racing team enough.”
With the championship, Bodine becomes only the third driver in series history to hold multiple championships. The other two drivers being Hornaday with four and Jack Sprague with three.
Bodine will look to become the first series back-to-back champion next year as he looks towards defending the title.
Almirola looks to finish second in the points, sitting 202 points behind Bodine after Phoenix.
“I’m proud of everything we’ve done this year with Billy Ballew Racing; they’ve done a good job,” Almirola said. “We’ve just got out run every weekend.”
There is still one more race left on the schedule – next Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway is the Ford 200 at 7:30pm EST. Look for the owner’s championship to be decided between Kyle Busch Motorsports and Germain Racing.