James Buescher had led 56 laps, and was in second-place under a late caution, poised to make a final push in a late restart. But the Texas native ran out of gas with three laps remaining, before a restart even occurred.
With that, Buescher saw another opportunity for his first win escape, as well as seeing his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship dreams fade away.
Buescher wasn't alone, though. Ron Hornaday had his title chances wrecked -- literally -- when Kyle Busch took him out intentionally under caution on Lap 15.
With his two closest competitors faltering Friday night, the series championship is now Austin Dillon's to lose. Dillon finished second in the WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway after he was unable to overtake Kevin Harvick on the final restart with two laps to go.
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Harvick, a Sprint Cup regular, won his fourth truck race of the year and his first at TMS.
"[At the final restart], I'm sure Austin was thinking championship, and I'm thinking win the race," said Harvick, driver of the No. 2 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet. "All in all, it was a good night. The truck was solid."
Harvick might have won the race, but Dillon proved to be the biggest winner on the night. His points lead grew to 20 ahead of Johnny Sauter, who finished seventh. Buescher, meanwhile, fell to third and is 28 points back. Hornaday is 48 points back in fourth.
"Up and down at the beginning, but we did a great job making adjustments," said Dillon, who will win the championship by finishing 16th or better in the season finale Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Dillon and Buescher were in a tight race all night. Before running out of gas, Buescher was in second and could have pulled to within nine points of Dillon.
And, while the night belonged to Harvick and Dillon, the real story might have happened at the beginning of the race.
Under caution on Lap 15, Busch intentionally wrecked Hornaday, who brushed Busch up against the wall on the previous lap. NASCAR parked Busch for the race with possibly more penalties to come afterward.
After the incident, Busch didn't think his truck could win the race, and he admitted retaliating against Hornaday.
"If everybody wants to say Hornaday is racing for a championship, just roll over, that's not Kyle Busch's fashion," Busch said. "I'm out here to win a race just like everybody else is. ...If you're a guy racing for a championship, you need to be smart enough to understand that you can't go three-wide on Lap 15, knowing how bad the trucks are when you're on the inside of somebody and not expect to get loose."
Hornaday stopped by No. 18's hauler and exchanged a few words with Busch's crew chief, Eric Phillips. There wasn't a confrontation between drivers.
"I got a little loose and I got into him, but it wasn't no ... it was a racing deal," Hornaday said. "If they don't park him on Sunday [for the Sprint Cup race], I'll be really upset. That's just ignorant, stupid. I don't know what you want to call it."
Harvick agreed with Hornaday, saying: "Just seemed like Kyle showed his immaturity tonight. If he's not winning the race, he's pouting and throwing a fit. One of those things where he needs to grow up or he'll have some swollen eyes."
NASCAR officials met with Busch briefly after the race, and will meet with him again this morning to determine any possible penalties for his actions.
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Drew Davison, 817-390-7760