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Kvapil wins championship, Hamilton wins race

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Homestead, FL (Sports Network) - Travis Kvapil finished sixth in Friday's Ford 200 Craftsman Truck Series race and won the 2003 title. Kvapil ended the season with a nine-point lead over Dennis Setzer. Ted Musgrave finished third, 18 points back and Brendan Gaughan fourth. Veteran Bobby Hamilton won the race at the newly renovated Homestead-Miami Speedway. The No.4 Square D Dodge crossed the finish line four lengths in front of Rick Crawford.

The victory was Hamilton's second of the season and fourth of his truck career.

David Starr, Andy Houston and Jack Sprague completed the top-five.

The title was still up in the air for several minutes after the checkered flag as NASCAR officials black flagged Ted Musgrave for passing before the final restart with two laps to go.

Brendan Gaughan had been the dominant car on the track for most of the afternoon. The series points leader when the green flag dropped to start the race, started in the back of the field after an engine change. The No.62 Dodge charged through the field and by lap 34 was in 10th place. By lap 74 he had moved to fifth place and held a 48-point lead in the championship standings.

Following a Ken Schrader caused caution for a blown engine, the race restarted with 36 laps to go. One lap later Marty Houston's No.10 Dodge veered into the outside wall and back down the track and into Gaughan. Gaughan slammed into the outside wall and was hit again, this time by Bryan Reffner. Gaughan was unhurt, but his championship dreams were over.

The race came down to a restart with two laps to go and the three remaining championship contenders (Kvapil, Setzer and Musgrave) next to each other on the track and within eight points of each other in the standings.

Musgrave tried to jump the start and was in the process of passing Setzer on the inside as the two drivers were crossing the start/finish line. This is against the rules as only passing on the outside of a driver is permitted before the start/finish line. Musgrave was black flagged though he continued to race.

Kvapil held his position and took the championship trophy home for the No.16 IWX Chevrolet team. It was the second straight year that the IWX team won the championship, winning in 2002 with Mike Bliss behind the wheel.

"This team is awesome," said Kvapil. "They're the reason why we are here."

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