BUSCH: Atlanta: Ron Hornaday preview

Ron Hornaday Atlanta Motor Speedway HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (October 26, 2004) - The ACDelco Chevrolet and driver Ron Hornaday enter the Aaron's 312 weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as one of the hottest teams on the circuit. Hornaday has...

Ron Hornaday
Atlanta Motor Speedway

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (October 26, 2004) - The ACDelco Chevrolet and driver Ron Hornaday enter the Aaron's 312 weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as one of the hottest teams on the circuit. Hornaday has averaged a seventh place finish over his last four races and feels like momentum is back on his side.

"We are really rolling right now," said Hornaday. "Not winning a race lately has been frustrating, but at least we have been a car with a chance to win. Now we just have to put it all together." Hornaday has mastered the ability to adapt this year. He entered 2004 with new chassis, a new pit crew and a new crew chief. And while the championship expectations were not met, Hornaday still managed to win a race (The Milwaukee Mile) and sits fourth in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings.

This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hornaday will again be asked to adapt. Gil Martin replaces Butch Hylton as crew chief of the No. 2 ACDelco Monte Carlo. Martin brings with him valuable NASCAR NEXTEL Cup experience, which Hornaday hopes can make a difference.

"Gil has been working closely with Todd Berrier on the GM Goodwrench Chevy, so I hope he is bringing the notes from Atlanta Cup races with him. RCR has run very well at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the past and I know Gil is a big reason for that," said Hornaday. "He has been in our meetings, so he knows that we have come across some things that have been working. I think he can help us get better. Hopefully the communication will be there right from the start."

The statistics show Atlanta Motor Speedway as one of Hornaday's toughest tests. But the two-time NASCAR Truck Series champion says liars figure and figures lie. "We have been a fast car at Atlanta. But we just never can finish the race off," said Hornaday. "I like the track a lot. It's a fun track to race on. I look forward to this race every year. If we can stay with the adjustments all day, I think we can be a contender for the win."

Points of Interest...

* New Crew Chief...Gil Martin takes over as the crew chief of the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet. Martin worked as the general manager of the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet and driver Kevin Harvick in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. He recently took over as co-crew chief on the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevy of Robby Gordon. Martin last worked in the NASCAR Busch Series as crew chief of the No. 21 RCR Monte Carlo in 2001.

* Atlanta Track Stat... Hornaday drove the No. 31 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. owned Chevrolet to victory lane in the 1999 ARCA race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his very first start at the track. However, Hornaday has struggled at the 1.5-mile quad-oval in the NASCAR Busch Series. His best start is 19th (2002) and his best finish is 13th (2003).

* Record Breaker... Hornaday extended his NASCAR Busch Series record for consecutive races without a DNF. The ACDelco Chevrolet has been running at the end of 69 straight races. The last DNF for Hornaday was an engine failure at Kansas Speedway in 2002.

*         What ya' Haulin'...The ACDelco transporter will unload chassis
No.035.  It is a brand new race car that has yet to see action.

* Heartfelt Condolences...Ron Hornaday on the Hendrick Motorsports Aviation Tragedy-"I was so very saddened by this tragic news. The Hendrick Family has been very dear to me and I consider them Family. My heart is so heavy right now that it is hard to put into words what I want to say. Ricky was such a great kid and I will miss him so, so much. I feel very blessed that I was able to be his friend and spend time with him. He was the kind of kid that any father would be very proud of. I sit and think how this could happen to such a wonderful family; so many family members, and then I feel that God must have bigger plans for all of them. My deepest sympathy goes out to all of the Hendrick Family and may God Bless them all and give them the comfort that they will need."

No. 2 ACDelco driver Ron Hornaday on Atlanta Motor Speedway...

What are your thoughts on this weekend's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway?

"It's fast! I mean really fast. This is one of the few tracks that you realize how fast you are going. But it is also a track that has good grip, so it isn't really that scary.

"The pavement is starting to wear now and I noticed a couple bumps during the test that I had never noticed before. Still, this is one of the best racks we run on. There are two racing grooves, one up high and one on the bottom. But to be honest, you can run anywhere. The corners are just so wide. You will see drivers searching high and low for grip and that leads to good side by side racing. We should put on a heck of a show for the fans."

You have raced in ARCA, Busch and (NEXTEL) Cup at the track. Does that experience help you this weekend?

"Anytime you get track time, no matter what you race it's a good thing. I won the Georgia Boot ARCA race here in 1999 and it was the first time I had ever driven the track. We have had fast cars here in both Cup and Busch, but just never had the finish we needed. So experience can help on race day. With the tire rules in the Busch Series, a fast car beats the heck out of experience."

Are you concerned about working with a new crew chief?

"I am excited to work with Gil Martin. He is a proven winner in the NASCAR Busch Series and he has a lot of NEXTEL Cup experience as well. He's bringing a new energy to this team and I think if I can explain to him what I need in terms he can figure out, we'll be really good. This team has had every reason this year to quit and they just keep fighting back. I think we'll be fine."

-rcr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Kevin Harvick , Robby Gordon , Ron Hornaday Jr.