Polesitter Ron Hornaday Jr. held off a late challenge by Matt Crafton on Saturday to earn his 51st Camping World Truck Series victory in the Smith’s 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Hornaday, 53, led 107 of the 146 laps and notched his second victory in a row and his first in 11 starts in Las Vegas. Crafton was second, .629 seconds back, followed by Timothy Peters, Johnny Sauter and Todd Bodine.
Rounding out the top 10 were Nelson Piquet Jr., David Mayhew, Cole Whitt, Brendan Gaughan and Parker Kligerman.
Hornaday never really had a chance to maintain a sizeable lead because of the 10 caution periods in the race. But it was clear he had the dominant truck since Friday’s first practice session.
“I know I stunk up the show for the fans, but I wanted this win really, really bad,” Hornaday said. “I finally won in Vegas.”
Hornaday was driving the No. 2 Chevrolet for the second race in a row for Kevin Harvick Inc. owners Kevin and DeLana Harvick. The truck is leading the series’ owner points, and the decision to move Hornaday from the No. 33 to the No. 2 was made to help bolster that championship effort. Hornaday won two weeks ago at Kentucky Speedway in his first start this season in the No. 2.
“This is just a dream come true,” Hornaday said. “You don’t get trucks like that very often, and I’ve got it two races in a row, so that’s pretty awesome. Kevin and DeLana, I owe them a lot. They give me a championship truck with the owner points and still believing in me. They put Bruce Cook (crew chief) with me, and we go out and win another one.”
In winning for the third time in five races and the fourth time this season, Hornaday also thrust himself back into the championship race. Austin Dillon and James Buescher, the top two in points going into the race, were involved in separate incidents early, tightening up the points. Dillon now leads Sauter by five points and Buescher by seven. Hornaday is fourth, 21 points back, and Peters is fifth, 25 points off the pace with four races remaining.
Dillon made contact with the outside wall in the fourth turn of the third lap and finished 17th, 15 laps off the pace. Buescher tangled with Max Gresham on Lap 48 and also spent time behind the wall for repairs. He finished 21st.
Notes: There were eight lead changes among five drivers. … The race was slowed by 10 cautions for 44 laps. The track record for cautions and caution laps is 12 and 46, set in 2008. … Although it was Hornaday’s first victory at Las Vegas, it was his eighth top 10.