CHEVY NCTS AT DAYTONA DAY TWO - TESTING DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY JANUARY 12, 2008 Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway during preseason testing and discussed ...
CHEVY NCTS AT DAYTONA
DAY TWO - TESTING
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
JANUARY 12, 2008
Ron Hornaday, Jr., No. 33 Camping World Silverado, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway during preseason testing and discussed winning the 2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, teaming with Jack Sprague at Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI), thoughts on being only the second three-time champion and other subjects.
ON WHAT HE DID DURING SHORT OFF SEASON: "My hat is off to the bobsledders. Those Olympic guys are kinda nuts. I got an opportunity to ride down the hills (as participant in Bodine Bobsled Challenge in Lake Placid, NY) with Boris Said. I get there and on the ride down and say, 'I ain't doin that, there ain't no way I am drivin one of those things'. Then once I got to drive it, it was a whole different outlook. It was a lot of fun. My hat is off the Geoff Bodine and what he is doing for the U.S. Bobsled Team. It is pretty cool.
"Just had a lot of fun with my grandkids. My grandson is racing motocross right now. Every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, if we can get out there, he is racing. We spent the New Year with him. I think he is on his 15th win this year. So that is pretty cool."
ON HAVING JACK SPRAGUE AS A TEAMMATE: "Thinking about Jack Sprague as a teammate is pretty weird. I told Kevin (Harvick) that I am going out and spin Sprague out the first time to just let him know who is the boss of KHI. (LAUGHS). We have got three championships apiece and a lot of wins. It is definitely going to help the team out with what we learn down here at Daytona, how good Ernie (Cope) and Rick Ren are working together and Jack and I.
"It even goes back to the days when Jack and I were beatin and bangin off each other, we still compared notes in the back of our heads of what springs and shocks and stuff we ran, and stuff like that. Hopefully if we can get them pretty close, the better driver is going to win. It is definitely going to be a plus for KHI to have two teams and Mark Smith with his motors and what he has done already with really feeling what the drivers say and make those motors feel smooth for us. It is going to be a plus for this year, I am really looking forward to it."
ON NOTICING ANY DIFFERENCE FROM LAST YEAR AT DAYTONA WITH NEW ENGINE BUILDER AND NEW ENGINE RUNS: "I think it is the same rules down here. I think we are running the same approved space plate as we call them. They are not restrictors, but they are tapered down in to a smaller chamber. I am really noticing that the track is slicker when it gets a few laps on it. I haven't even gotten in the draft yet and the truck is pretty slippery. We have tried two different trucks and it doesn't matter, it is still the same way.
"I think some of the accidents yesterday were caused because of the slickness of it, the tires and just some people being dumb.
"Mark Smith is definitely going to be a plus. We are going to work close together where he is listening to the drivers and tuning it around us. We got an opportunity to run the same format that we are going to run this year down at Atlanta when we tire tested for Goodyear and it definitely slowed us down but we still have to lift. Luckily it didn't rain down there, we had a lot of rubber on the track from the 500 they had down there so it showed race conditions. If Goodyear brings a good tire, we are going to be fine. The best tire I found is a tire we were running, they say we had a problem the last time, but you are always going to have problems when you are the first series out on the track. If we get an extra set of tires like we did, we will be fine."
ON HAVING TWO KHI NCTS SILVERADO TEAMS: "I see it as a positive. Kevin and DeLana, if you guys don't know them by now, they are definitely racers. They are focusing on everything that they can put in to the teams. They rearranged the shop so we are a combined team. We are not just a NCTS team or Nationwide team; we are just one big team. It shows that it is working better. Each time I go up there, which is once or twice a week because it is a drive from my house, they definitely have some resources and we are hiring some great people, a lot of people who have driven before. We have Andy Houston up there now. Rick Carelli has been there for a while, it a lot of good ideas that come in to the shop that is really going to help us out."
ON FEELINGS ABOUT WINNING THIRD CHAMPIONSHIP: "It is over with, it is a new year. The coolest thing was going to New York to the Cup banquet; I never got to do that before. Boy, do they drink a lot of beer."
ON OLD RIVALRY BETWEEN HIM AND JACK BEING JUST MEDIA HYPE: "That is what he thinks. (LAUGHS) No, we both race hard, no matter what we do and when we are all done, we can sit and have a soda pop or a barley pop or whatever. Jack did hold, not grudges, but he has always gotten mad but then he would come back the following week and we have always talked. That is one thing about of relationship. We are going to see each other week in and week out, we are just a big family, you don't mean to go out there and wreck somebody, you just go out there and race hard.
"I know at IRP (O'Reilly Raceway Park, Indianapolis, IN 1998 NCTS race), but he wishes he never did. He never wore white gloves again. Every time I got a chance to do it, I just ran in to the side of him. Finally Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (Hornaday's truck owner) and Mr. Hendrick (Sprague's truck owner) said enough is enough guys, we have to work on these trucks.
"When Harvick hired me, he hired two new fabricators. When he hired Jack, he hired four more. (LAUGH). They know we are going to race hard. Chevrolet gave us an allotment of more sheet metal than we are ever going to need. It is going to be cool for the Truck Series back to where we started. I don't know what NASCAR is doing to this how it is all going to pan out but you are going to see a lot of different kind of racing than you have seen before. It is going to be back to the tough trucks, tough drivers.
"Jack and I had a rivalry on the track but a bigger rivalry existed between our team owners and Richard Childress that Mike (Skinner) drove for. Jack and I just kept ours going. It made good TV and it made good media.
"Jack is so funny. When you can run in to the back of him and his eyes just turn red. I still like to do that no matter if he is my teammate or not. The madder he gets, the better he drives, so I like to do that to him."
ON CHANCES TO REPEAT AS CHAMPION: "You never know, I didn't have a chance last year and I did. We are going to do everything we have to do. We won some races and gave some races away. We are going to keep the same focus; I don't see anything really changing right now. With the Toyota's having a different combination, it puts us a little bit closer, that is where we were getting beat last year. We have always out handled them so I think we are going to have to go to the first couple of races and see what happens to know if we have to change our bodies for less drag or whatever we have to do. Right Rick, myself and everyone at KHI are thinking that we are going to keep our bodies the same and hopefully tires come in to play so we can save our tires and in long runs we can beat them. We have to keep getting those wins; those wins will get in to points and points come to a championship.
"It was quite a year last year to see Mike and myself and Kvapil from what Bodine did. We were 400 points in front of him so we both had awesome seasons. You hate to see somebody have bad luck, but I am glad it was him and not me. It is going to be tough to repeat. These guys are not going to lay down.
"I think two times yesterday, just trying to get up to speed, people pulled in front of me. I don't know if they are doing that on purpose so I don't get a good, clean run or what, or just holding me back. I don't know, but we will figure it out by a couple of races in to the season."
ON HOW I THEY ACCOMPLISHED WHAT THEY DID LAST YEAR: "My hat is off to Chevrolet. They are our biggest supporters. Kevin and DeLana spent a lot of money out of his pocket, and then Camping World came on board. It takes a lot of people doing this. One thing about the next couple of years, we don't have to worry about who is sponsoring the truck and what Chevrolet is going to do and stuff like that. We are going to be around for a while. Now we are just expanding. We are definitely going to go out there and run harder, and do what we have got to do."
ON HIS VIEW OF THE 1999 CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY RACES: "Well, I couldn't imagine being Jack's spotter because he was probably whining because if somebody passed him, he was going to lose his championship. I really don't know other than I was working with another Chevrolet, I don't care if it was Jack or not, we were just working with another Chevrolet to help him out.
"Actually my throttle was sticking the last three or four laps of the race and I was fighting that. It actually looked like I was blocking for him and I wasn't. Bliss got in there, and he and I rubbed fenders and doors and all that stuff for about three laps. After the end of the race, Bliss was just laughing because he heard me shutting the ignition off, he figured he could get by me. I didn't do anything.
"But the coolest thing is I came home and all of a sudden you got a 100 cases of Coors Light sitting at your house that is still chilled. You have to drink it by a certain date. So we had a lot of parties that couple of months.
"I think we had like only four months to finish it off, I gave one case to my Father-in-law, the rest of it we had parties at the house or people came bye. I was the most popular guy in Mooresville, NC that weekend.
"That is the year Jack and I saluted each other and the crowd after the race. I think I was going Nationwide racing the next year. I never said I wasn't coming back to the truck series. I enjoy the NCTS, I would rather be here than anywhere else. We just need more trucks. You guys want to buy a truck? We need more trucks out there. (SILENCE) Is that a no? (LAUGHS)."
-credit: gm racing