9/1/07

Benson Battles Back For Second Consecutive Victory

A reversal of fortune in Saturday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Gateway International Raceway gave Johnny Benson his third victory of the season and the series its first different points leader since way back in February.
Benson had the lead on Lap 50 when a caution sent the majority of the field to pit road. A missing lug nut forced Benson to the attention of his crew a second time and left him mired deep in traffic for the restart.

It took the Bill Davis Racer until Lap 147 of 160 to run down Ron Hornaday and take the lead and from there he was on easy street all the way to the checkers for his second consecutive victory. “Last week we got a little lucky at Bristol,” Benson explained. “Today, we had to work our tails off. We had a little mistake on pit road that put us back for a while, but fortunately, there was a long green flag run and we were able to make up some spots.”

Mike Skinner kicked off race day with his ninth pole of the season and his first at Gateway but a blown tire sent the No 5 Toyota hard into the outside wall and left the California native saddled with a 28th place finish, his worst of the season.

That opened the championship door for Ron Hornaday who chased Benson to the checkers for a second place finish. Hornaday maximized his points potential by bagging the bonus points for leading the most laps and that was just enough take over the lead in the driver standings. “This is what it is going to take to beat (Mike) Skinner and those guys,” said Hornaday. “I hate to see them have a problems. We saw them cord a tire in practice so we worked on it pretty hard to make it turn better today, but that is how Benson beat me. We weren't turning quite as good as he getting in the corner but we were really good up off.”

A 96-point swing shoved Hornaday past Skinner for the points lead and gave him a four-point advantage going into the race at New Hampshire International Speedway on September 15.