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Busch, Hornaday spat affects Truck titles

November 05, 2011, Dave Rodman, NASCAR.com

Ron Hornaday saw his championship hopes disappear as his No. 33 was destroyed on Lap 14. (Getty Images)

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Busch parked after wrecking Hornaday under caution following Lap 14 contact

A spat that turned blatantly ugly between Camping World Truck Series drivers' championship contender Ron Hornaday and owners' championship contender Kyle Busch definitely altered both races -- plus the potential outcome of the WinStar World Casino 350K.

With both trucks permanently in the garage only 15 laps into the race, Kevin Harvick Incorporated's No. 2 Chevrolet, which the owner won with at Texas, clinched the owners' championship. It had come to Texas leading Kyle Busch Motorsports' No. 18 Toyota by 72 points.

Texas tiff


Kyle Busch got parked and Ron Hornaday lost a shot at the championship when Busch wrecked Hornaday under caution at Texas.

Hornaday, who'd won twice and finished second twice in the four races preceding Texas, came into Friday night's penultimate race in the series tied for third with Johnny Sauter, just 15 points behind leader Austin Dillon.

Less than 10 percent of the way into the event that was extended to 148 laps by a green-white-checkered finish, Busch and Hornaday were racing for second, side-by-side with Busch on the outside when they encountered Johnny Chapman's lapped truck in the middle of Turns 1 and 2 on Lap 14.

Hornaday moved up slightly to avoid Chapman and when he did, his truck "loosened-up" and slapped Busch's truck, knocking it slightly into the outside wall. Hornaday also grazed the outside wall, but both trucks continued without slowing much as the race's first caution flew at Lap 15.

Busch's truck caught up to the back of Hornaday's No. 33 KHI Chevrolet and rammed into it, upsetting its balance but not spinning it out. After traveling some distance, Busch moved out to the right, then speared Hornaday's truck in the right-rear corner, turning it abruptly -- and head-on -- into the outside wall.

Busch -- whose truck was heavily damaged after contacting Hornaday and, after it spun Hornaday's truck, hit the wall itself -- was sent to the garage by NASCAR officials in the control tower "for aggressive driving." After the race, Busch and his crew chief, Eric Phillips, met briefly with NASCAR officials at the Truck Series' office trailer. A NASCAR spokesman said "we'll revisit the situation [Saturday] morning."

After he exited his truck, on SPEED's broadcast Busch was asked, "Did you just lose your mind for a few seconds there and did you consider that Ron was in the championship?"

Busch, whose TV demeanor was calm, answered at length.

"If you consider Ron was in the championship maybe Ron could've played it a little bit smarter on Lap 15 and checked-up a little bit and given room to everybody around [him]," Busch said. "Obviously if you make it a three-wide situation -- I can't go up in the dirt. I'm already on the outside lane and there's not three lanes out here right now. It's the first race here this weekend.

"So If I just lay over and give up everything for Ron Hornaday, that's not Kyle Busch's fashion. I'm out here to win a race just as much as anybody else is. When he races up on my inside, gets loose and takes me up to the fence -- I ended up losing my cool.

"I've been wrecked four weeks in a row [including two Sprint Cup races] and finally I've just had enough of it. Sorry it was Ron Hornaday and he's going after a championship, but the fact of the matter is you can't place all the blame on one person -- there was two people that got into it to begin with and there's two people that ended it."

When Hornaday came out of the track's care center, he obviously was beside himself in his TV interview.

"I don't know, we just touched a little bit, I guess -- I don't know," Hornaday said before going off on a tangent. "He knows I'm going for a points deal, I don't know why he would do it. Anybody got a Cup car? He'll never win another championship again.

"This is just stupid. He knew what I was going for and he knew I was there [to the inside]. Oh, my God. He had to lift too, and if I had lifted I would've hit the back of that slower truck and it would've caused a big wreck.

"He just drove me in the fence. I mean, he just ruined a perfectly good race car."

Hornaday finished 34th, one spot behind Busch and is unofficially 48 points out of the lead, in fourth. Dillon finished second to Harvick and can now clinch his first Truck Series championship by finishing 16th or better in the Homestead finale, 17th or better if he leads one lap or 18th or better if he leads the most laps.