Johnny Benson is doing everything he can to capture the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Championship, but Todd Bodine isn't cooperating.
Benson recovered from an opening lap spin Friday night and held off Mark Martin by 0.429 seconds to capture the Casino Arizona 150 at Phoenix International Raceway.
"We had to work pretty hard for this one," said Benson, who won his fifth race this season and first at PIR. "I just made a stupid move at the start."
Benson was hoping that Bodine would encounter some bad luck but the points leader finished fourth and is 112 points up heading into Homestead-Miami Speedway next week.
Mike Skinner finished third and Matt Crafton was fifth.
"We don't have to win the race, just keep them in sight," said Bodine, who has to finish 28th or better next week to clinch the series title. "You do race differently and have a different thought process. That is the reality of point races."
Bodine managed to stay out of trouble despite a PIR record 11 cautions for 43 laps. If his strategy plays out next week, Bodine will capture his first NASCAR major series championship.
"I don't think we have any shot for (the championship)," Benson said. "(Bodine) would basically have to go home, and we would have to start the race and win it."
The race appeared doomed for Benson when he spun his car entering turn 3 while he was battling Mike Skinner for the lead.
"I was just being dumb," Benson said. "It was my fault. I thought for sure it was going to stick."
But Benson didn't panic and snaked his way back through the field, passing Bodine on lap 65, and taking the lead for good from Martin on lap 121. Martin led 82 laps but didn't have the truck to stick with Benson.
"Our truck was awesome on long runs," said Martin, who has 10 top-five finishes in 13 truck races this season.
"Johnny just put it on us. We didn't get much green flag in the last part of the race."
Erin Crocker finished 16th, tying her career best in the truck series. Nextel Cup regular Kyle Busch was ninth.