Harvick’s Happy Again

GO GREEN: Colin Braun (6) leads Kevin Harvick (4) and the rest of the field at the start of Friday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finale at Florida's Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images Photo)

GO GREEN: Colin Braun (6) leads Kevin Harvick (4) and the rest of the field at the start of Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finale at Florida’s Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images Photo)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Kevin Harvick came to South Florida as a man on a mission in the Camping World Truck Series Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway and claimed victory in the Ford 200.

Harvick’s teammate, Ron Hornaday, Jr. wrapped up the series championship the previous week at Phoenix Int’l Raceway, but Harvick wanted the owner’s title as well and did everything possible to assure that his brace of Chevrolets would finish near the top.

Mission accomplished.

Polesitter Colin Braun jumped into the lead of the 134-lap event at the start, but it only took third-starting Harvick six circuits to gain the top spot and begin to assert himself.

Meanwhile, many eyes were on the Toyota of Kyle Busch as he started last in the 36-truck field due to an engine change and sliced through field in short order. By lap 20, Busch had rocketed up to seventh and was chasing Harvick’s fleet Chevrolet.

The first yellow flag waved on lap 32 for Shane Sieg, who slapped the wall in turn three with no one else involved. Everyone pitted for tires and fuel and Harvick was back out front with Busch hot on his tailgate.

On lap 60, following the third yellow flag of the night, Busch assumed the top spot, but it was short-lived as Harvick pushed his Georgia Boot- backed Silverado back to the front just past the halfway mark.

Busch’s night soured on lap 82 when he dived into the pits with a flat tire as Harvick continued to set the pace. Busch was then busted for speeding on pit road and had to stop again to serve a penalty, and that virtually eliminated his chances of winning.

Series point-leader Hornaday was not feeling well and never pushed the issue all evening, electing to run a more conservative pace in hopes of securing the owner’s title in the Kevin Harvick, Inc. No. 33.

As the laps wound down, Timothy Peters took command on lap 114 when Harvick pitted under the green flag, but three laps later Aric Almirola jumped in front and he paced the field until the final yellow flag of the night when Ryan Sieg hit the wall on lap 129.

Most of the field dashed for the pits for tires, but Peters gambled and stayed out. When the field reformed, it was Peters out front for a green-white-checkered finish, but the worn tires proved his undoing as Harvick drove past going into turn one. Harvick sped to his second-consecutive truck victory and third overall in only six starts.

A late charging Matt Crafton crossed the stripe behind Harvick for runner-up honors with Braun, Peters and Todd Bodine rounding out the top five.

Hornaday checkered eighth to put the exclamation mark on his fourth series title and secured the owner’s championship for KHI by 73 markers over the Billy Ballew Motorsports No. 51, which finished 13th with Busch at the wheel on this night.

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