FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Todd Bodine stayed in front for two late restarts, including a green-white-checkered finish, to become a six-time winner in the NASCAR Trucks Series at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night.
It was his 18th career victory and his first since winning at Texas last June — a stretch of 24 races. He was already the only driver to win at least five truck races at the same track.
Bodine was on the inside for the final restart, and got a tremendous jump that kept his Toyota ahead for those final two laps.
Ron Hornaday, who had been battling Bodine for the lead most of the race, slipped all the way to ninth in that final surge.
Johnny Sauter finished second in his Chevrolet, ahead of polesitter Austin Dillon, the rookie driver who is the 20-year-old grandson of NASCAR Sprint Cup car owner Richard Childress.
On the restart before the final caution, Bodine then held off the hard-charging Hornaday, who managed to get inside going into the first turn and pushed slightly ahead on the backstretch. But when they crossed the scoring line, Bodine was still in front and stayed there the next two laps.
That's when something happened to David Starr's truck, sending him into Matt Crafton and both of them into the wall to bring out the caution that set up the green-white checkered. The caution went through the 167th lap, the scheduled end of the race.
"They made me earn it three times tonight, four times actually," Bodine said. "I'm not usually that good on restarts, so I knew, especially with Ron outside me, I had to get a good one. That last one, I got a good one."
Bodine extended his season points lead from two to 65 over Aric Almirola, who finished 12th.
Even though Bodine hadn't won before getting back to Texas, he had top-five finishes in six of the first seven races this season. The only hiccup was a 30th-place finish when he had an overheating problem at Martinsville and finished only 173 of 250 laps.
"It's awesome. It's good to come to Texas every time," Bodine said. "This truck was driving good and it was fast wide-open. It was fun to drive. It really was."
Johnny Benson finished 10th, a lap down, in the No. 18 truck owned by Kyle Busch, who was at Pocono and earned the pole there for his 200th Sprint Cup Series start.
Busch shut down one of his financially strapped Truck Series teams this week, but the No. 18 was tops in owners' standings before Friday night. It is now second, 12 points behind Bodine's No. 30 truck owned by Steve Germain.
Only nine trucks finished on the lead lap and only 17 of the 36 who started finished the race. The highest-finishing Ford was rookie Jennifer Jo Cobb in 14th.
Hornaday took his first lead of the night when Bodine got stuck in the pits when a yellow flag came out for debris just short of the midway point of the race.
But when Hornaday went into the pits under that caution, he pulled away from his stall with the gas can still attached to his truck. After the stop-and-go penalty, Bodine was back in front, where he stayed until Hornaday took back the lead on lap 102.
Hornaday still led Bodine, with the top two more than 10 seconds ahead of the next-closest trucks, when something broke on Ricky Carmichael's truck and it slammed into the wall bringing out another caution on lap 130.
But Bodine's pit stop then was about 3 seconds quicker than Hornaday's, putting him back in the lead. And he stayed there the rest of the way.