Hornaday won his third Truck Series championship Friday night, finishing seventh to edge Skinner by 54 points after the season-ending Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hornaday trailed by 29 points entering the night, but benefited nicely when Skinner’s left-rear wheel broke away midway through the race.
"This is an unbelievable year," said Hornaday, who matched Jack Sprague for the most career Truck Series titles. "No matter what happened today, it was a great year. To beat Mike Skinner in the fashion we did, it’s pretty cool."
Hornaday became the eighth driver to win the title in eight years. No driver has ever successfully defended the yearlong title.
Skinner thought he had a problem with right-side tires - he reported that the front tire was deflating, but his team later found the pressure was fine - and took an unscheduled pit stop 27 laps into the race.
He recovered from that problem. The next one, though, doomed him.
Skinner’s left-rear tire broke free and bounced across the track, and his crew needed several minutes in the garage area to fix the problem. By the time Skinner returned to the race, he was 11 laps down and needed Hornaday to meet some serious misfortune to close the standings gap.
It didn’t happen, and Skinner - whose lone Truck title came in the series’ first year, 1995 - settled for second.
Mike Skinner (loosing his tire)
"Guys did a good job," said Skinner, who led six laps in the early going. "I regret we didn’t have a spare hub in the pits. We took one off another housing, but as it came down, it wasn’t going to make any difference anyway."