Hornaday hangs on for win No. 6 By Brett Borden MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 13, 1998) Wise men say only fools rush in, but Ron Hornaday can't help falling in love with Memphis Motorsports Park. Hornaday captured the inaugural running of...
Hornaday hangs on for win No. 6 By Brett Borden
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 13, 1998) Wise men say only fools rush in, but Ron Hornaday can't help falling in love with Memphis Motorsports Park. Hornaday captured the inaugural running of the Memphis 200 by laying low the first half of the race, then storming past the field and holding off Jay Sauter for his sixth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory of the season. Hound dog Hornaday is hot on the trail of Jack Sprague, moving to within 15 points of his archrival, who finished ninth. "We closed up on Jack in the driver's championship and it isn't over so don't count points yet," said the winner after the race. "We wanted to get top finishes like Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. (who, like Hornaday, drives for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.) has been doing and we've been working hard this weekend. I've got to thank Chevrolet and NAPA Brakes and (crew chief) Fred Graves. I wanted to pit and he wouldn't let me." Graves said the team had to refocus itself if it was going to make a move on Sprague for the championship. But it was difficult for Graves to focus when he couldn't bear to watch. "Hornaday is making a nervous wreck out of me," said Graves. "We just decided going into this weekend that this points racin' just threw us off our plan and our pit stops were off. So we decided to go back to what we do well and that's win races. So that's what we did today. We're going for it!" Hornaday won $38,625 for his efforts in front of an enthusiastic crowd. "The crowd here was awesome today," said Hornaday. "They were great and deserved an exciting show. I went out there this morning and did some autographs for NAPA and these fans were just great to be around." Sauter matched his best performance of the season, a runner-up finish at Watkins Glen International in May. It was his fourth top-five finish of the season, but he has yet to find Victory Lane in 1998. "The guys gave me a great Chevy truck today and we ran it hard all day," said Sauter. "Lapped traffic proved to be the deciding factor and Ron got us there. With the way things have been going with this GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, we'll take second. One of our great crew guys, Jessie Coke, has been off sick for a lot of the season and he's back with us here in Memphis. He's a good man. He's always on the radio keepin' us calm and cool. He does a great job for us and we all are glad to have him back." The Sunshine Boys, Jimmy Hensley and Joe Ruttman, both picked up top-five finishes, taking third and fourth, respectively. Hensley has now finished seventh or better in nine of the last 12 races. The 52-year-old driver has moved to within 68 points of the top-five in the standings. Meanwhile Ruttman, 53, has crept to within 88 points of Sprague. "This Cummins Dodge was a great truck all day," Hensley said. "Yesterday in practice, we thought that we had a good truck and it turned out today that we certainly did have a good truck. We really had excellent pit stops. Ron and Jay did not stop the last time that we did. We ran third and I really can't complain about that. I think some of the other guys got messed up when they had to stop under green. We were lucky and caught a couple of cautions to do our pit stops. I thought this was a great race and a great race track." As for Ruttman, he was the Comeback Kid after starting the race 29th. "I don't want to make a habit of (coming from the back) because it's too much work, and the boys give me heck for it," he said. "But the old Exide Ford ran really great. We just weren't quite on, chassis-wise. We had super pit stops and good track management on their part. They managed me right up towards the front. They made the right adjustments and we got better. We were just never real good." Rick Crawford finished fifth, while fellow Ford driver Greg Biffle finished a disappointing 22nd after dominating the first half of the race. Cut tires cut down the Cintas Rookie of the Year leader and Bud Pole winner's hopes for his first victory of the season.
Source: NASCAR Online