BUSCH: Fontana: California drivers head home

California natives looking forward to racing near home DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 28, 2004) -- For Ron Hornaday (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet), Kevin Harvick (No. 21 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet), Robby Gordon (No. 55 Fruit of the Loom ...

California natives looking forward to racing near home

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 28, 2004) -- For Ron Hornaday (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet), Kevin Harvick (No. 21 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Chevrolet), Robby Gordon (No. 55 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet) and Stanton Barrett (No. 91 AmericInn Pontiac) Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series event the Stater Bros. 300 presented by Gatorade at California Speedway will be like old home week.

All four drivers are from California -- Hornaday hails from Palmdale, Harvick from Bakersfield, Gordon from Cerritos in Southern California, while Barrett is from Bishop, in the central part of the state.

Hornaday is a two-time champion of the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series. He left SoCal in 1995 to drive for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. He still feels the love when he comes back to race.

"I love the fans on the west coast," Hornaday says. "They made me who I am today, and I can never thank them enough for their support. It was tough leaving back in '95. I had never been to North Carolina, and wasn't sure exactly where it was. But when I got the offer from Dale, I had to go. But the fans stayed with us. They have been the best to me and my family. I think the people have proven to the rest of the country that they are awesome fans."

This will be Gordon's first attempt in the NASCAR Busch Series at California. In three NASCAR premier series races at the facility, his best finish is 12th in 2002. Still, it's home.

"I look forward to going to Fontana, even though I haven't performed very well there in the past," Gordon says. "We tested with Richard Childress Racing in Michigan, which is the track that Fontana is modeled after, so I am looking forward to practicing, qualifying and racing there. I will have a lot of friends and family there for the race, so I am looking forward to it."

Gordon has won in a number of different motorsports disciplines, including NASCAR, CART and various off-road divisions. He's fifth in the NASCAR Busch Series standings going into California, just 62 points out of the lead. He has yet to win in the series, though, and would like to accomplish that feat in front of his hometown fans.

"I have been fortunate enough to win races in every series I have competed in, except for the NASCAR Busch Series," Gordon says. "We haven't won yet this year with the Fruit of the Loom team, but I have a saying that if you put yourself in front of that door enough times, it will eventually open up and we will find ourselves in Victory Lane. Hopefully, we will find ourselves stepping through that door in California."

Barrett, in addition to his racing career, made a name for himself in Hollywood as a stuntman. He's a local, both personally and professionally.

"This will be a big weekend for me from a number of standpoints," Barrett says. "This is the closest we race to where I was born and grew up, and to where I spent most of my adult life [in Hollywood], so I have a lot of family and friends who will be at California this weekend. Then, you add in the fact this is the first of a series of races for us with the AmericInn Lodging System, and, yeah, it's a pretty exciting time for me."

-nascar-

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