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TRUCKS: Bowyer Wins Race, Bodine Title

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Clint Bowyer scored a dominating victory in Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway, while Todd Bodine clinched his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.

Bowyer took the lead on Lap 25 of the 150-lap race and cruised from there, as he defeated Kyle Busch to win his second career Truck Series race in just eight starts. ThorSport Racing teammates Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton were next, followed by Aric Almirola in Billy Ballew’s Toyota Tundra.

Bodine, meanwhile, finished an easy 12th, which gave him a second championship to go with the one he captured in 2006.

Austin Dillon started out on the pole at PIR, the sixth time in just 24 races that the youngster had put the black No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in the top slot in time trials.

When the green flag fell, Dillon assumed the lead, with Matt Crafton second in the first of the ThorSport Chevys.

The first caution came on Lap 18, when Chris Laferty went into the Turn 4 wall. The leaders stayed out under the yellow-flag period, and when the green waved again on Lap 24, Dillon was on point.

But Bowyer quickly went to the front, putting the No. 2 Kevin Harvick Inc. truck into the lead for the first time on Lap 25. Soon Bowyer opened a huge margin, leading Dillon by 3.917 seconds on Lap 40. Just 10 laps later, he was up by 5.595 seconds, an eternity in NASCAR racing.

All that margin was wiped out 4 laps later by a caution flag for fluid on the track, which sent the leaders down pit road for fuel and tires. Bowyer and Dillon held on to the two top spots, followed by Aric Almirola, Busch and Ron Hornaday Jr.

The green flew on Lap 60, with Bowyer pulling out smartly, only to see a three-truck pileup in Turn 2, Ricky Carmichael going around and getting collected by Tom Hessert and Tayler Malsam.

When the green came back out on Lap 67, Busch’s No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra went outside of Bowyer to take his first lead on the evening. At the halfway point on Lap 75, Busch led Bowyer by 0.458 seconds, with Almirola third, then Hornaday and Dillon.

Caitlin Shaw crashed in Turn 4 to bring out the fourth caution on Lap 90.

Again, the leaders pitted, as this stop put them in their window to go the distance on fuel. Bowyer barely beat Busch off pit road, literally only making it by a few inches. But it was James Buescher who eschewed a pit stop and briefly took the lead, although with old tires, Bowyer and Busch blew right by him.

At Lap 100, Bowyer was 0.327 seconds up on Busch, with Hornaday, Dillon and Almirola completing the top five.

Dillon got loose in Turn 2, drifted up the hill and tagged Hornaday, sending him hard into the wall and sending another yellow to come out on Lap 114.

The leaders stayed out, but Buescher came in and got fresh tires.

Bowyer held on to the top spot when the green came out, easily fending off Busch and pulling away to a lead of 1.153 seconds on Lap 125.

From there, it was all Bowyer, as he and Bodine celebrated the race victory and the series championship, respectively.

Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.