NASCAR & Auto Racing

Benson wins and grabs Truck series points lead

MARTINSVILLE, Va. - Johnny Benson got what he was after - a NASCAR Truck Series victory at Martinsville Speedway - and more in Saturday's Kroger 200.

Benson passed Hornaday on Lap 155 to take the lead for the first time all day, and for the first time in a Truck race at Martinsville, then held on the rest of the way to get his fifth victory of the season.

Benson had to hold off Hornaday on several restarts after taking the lead, and had things ended that way Hornaday would have kept the lead in the Truck Series standings after coming into the day with a 39-point on Benson.

But just after the final restart with five laps to go Hornaday's truck sputtered and slowed. He was out of gas, having stopped only once on the first caution just 35 laps into the race. Hornaday slowed and eventually stopped on the track as Benson ran off the final laps.

With Hornaday winding up 29th, Benson moved out to a 65-point lead in the standings with just four races remaining.

"I was really having to try to be easy on the gas, too," said Benson, who stopped at the same time Hornaday did and took on four tires while Hornaday took none. "The minute I saw that, I let right off the gas and kind of ran half-pedaled the last few laps."

It was enough to hold off Dennis Setzer, who wound up second, and Rick Crawford, who got third.

"We had a great truck," Hornaday said. "That is all you can ask for. You try to save fuel but you can't, especially here."

Hornaday seemed to be curious why NASCAR didn't throw a yellow flag as his truck stopped on the track. Had that happened, forcing a green-white-checkered finish, a lot of teams' fuel strategies might have been upset.

"I guess next time I will just stop on the track and cause a big wreck," Hornaday said. "I was trying to be as nice as I could and stop on the bottom. I guess I will stop in the groove next time."

Hornaday started first and led the first 154 laps, fending off a big challenge from Benson around the Lap 120 mark. But on Lap 155, Benson worked to Hornaday's inside and completed the pass when Hornaday slid wide entering Turn 3.

"It wasn't easy, but it sure was nice not seeing anybody out in front of me," Benson said.

"My goal is to win the race. There are some guys who want to lead every lap. All I want to do is lead the last one and win. That pays the most money and pretty good points, too."

Related stories from Modesto Bee