BUSCH: Daytona: Ron Hornaday preview

Hornaday begins his championship chase at Daytona. February 11, 2003 (Daytona Beach, Fla.) After spending 2002 bouncing around from ride-to-ride, two-time NASCAR Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday is set for a Busch Series title run in 2003. ...

Hornaday begins his championship chase at Daytona.

February 11, 2003 (Daytona Beach, Fla.) After spending 2002 bouncing around from ride-to-ride, two-time NASCAR Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday is set for a Busch Series title run in 2003. His chariot for the championship is none other than the ACDelco Chevrolet...winner of three of the last five NASCAR Busch Series crowns. With the resources of Richard Childress Racing, Hornaday believes this is his best chance ever to win a championship, regardless of series.

Ron Hornaday, driver of the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet, comments on 2003 with Richard Childress Racing and ACDelco:

What are your thoughts on driving for ACDelco and Richard Childress Racing? "It's awesome. To have this opportunity to race for RCR and a great sponsor like ACDelco is incredible. This is the best equipment that I have ever raced with so I am really excited. I've have been chasing that blue ACDelco car for three years now, and it's time for someone else to have to look at that rear bumper."

Where you ever worried that you wouldn't get another ride with a top team after bouncing around last year? "Oh, I don't know. I tried to stay positive last year. People like Rick Hendrick and Dave Carroll gave me opportunities to drive their cars and that helped me keep my faith. It wasn't like I forgot how to drive. It's just the timing of leaving A.J.'s (Foyt) so late in the season. All of the available rides were taken, so we were kind of on the outside looking in."

What are the goals for you and the ACDelco team in 2003? "The championship! It's plain and simple. We have all the things we need to win the championship. Richard (Childress) has put a lot of effort into his Busch program and we have the best crew in the business. I have a veteran crew chief in Rick Viers, who I really gel with, so our goal is winning it all. Hopefully the results on the track will match our desire to win."

Do the expectations of a championship put extra pressure on you? "I put a ton of pressure on myself every time I get in the car. The reason I race is because I love to get the trophy. My wife (Lindy) and I have always said that we race for souvenirs. So when we don't win, we're usually disappointed. So no, the pressure means we have a great team and that people expect us to win. That's what we want to do anyway. So it doesn't really affect me."

Ron Hornaday comments on the Koolerz 300 at Daytona:

You were disappointed with your test here at Daytona International Speedway back in January. What kind of changes did you make to improve the car? "We were a little disappointed with our test. We thought we would be a little faster, but the one thing we were happy with was that the car drove extremely well. We compared our car to Harvick's when we returned to the shop and we learned a few things. RCR has always been one of the best at plate motors and speedway bodies. We saved our best motors for this weekend, so I know we'll have that awesome RCR horsepower, so we weren't all that concerned."

How important is getting a good finish at Daytona to your chase for the championship? "If you'd have asked me that last year, I would have said very. But after Tony Stewart won the Winston Cup title after finishing last in the Daytona 500, I guess it can be done. I feel like we need to come out of here with at least a top-10. I really think we can win this race, but considering what can happen when you put this many cars so close together, I would be happy with a top-10."

You have a teammate in Kevin Harvick for the first time in your career here at Daytona. How much of a difference, if any, will that make this weekend? "I think it makes a huge difference. Kevin and I have similar styles and so both cars left the shop exactly the same. This is a big change from last year, when Johnny Sauter and Jeff Green's cars were completely different. Both of RCR's Busch cars this year have the same spring combinations, same shocks, same nose weight everything, so we should be able to use that for an advantage. If he finds something that works, we are going to put it on our car and vise-versa. I also know that I have a drafting partner for at least all the laps except the last. With one to go, it's every man for himself."

DID YOU KNOW?

* In over 20 years of NASCAR racing, Ron Hornaday has only had one season (2001) in which he did not win at least two NASCAR races.

* With all the talk about the "young guns" in NASCAR, keep in mind that a few of them spent their early years in racing sleeping on Hornaday's couch. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson all took up residence with Hornaday at one time or another.

* ACDelco has won more NASCAR Busch Series awards than any other active sponsor. The Grand Blanc, Mich., based company won NASCAR Busch Series championships with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 1998 and '99 and also with Kevin Harvick in 2001. They also took the series Rookie-of-the-Year titles in 1997 with Steve Park and Harvick in 2000.

-rcr-

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