BUSCH: Hornaday - Martinsville spotlight

Hornaday Will Have Experience On His Side In Goody's 250 MARTINSVILLE, VA (July 7, 2006) -- Ron Hornaday knows a thing or two about Martinsville Speedway and that certainly should give the veteran driver at least a slight edge when the NASCAR ...

Hornaday Will Have Experience On His Side In Goody's 250

MARTINSVILLE, VA (July 7, 2006) -- Ron Hornaday knows a thing or two about Martinsville Speedway and that certainly should give the veteran driver at least a slight edge when the NASCAR Busch Series rolls into town for the Goody's 250 on July 22.

When the 48-year-old Hornaday first raced at Martinsville in 1994, many of today's Busch Series regulars were still playing with toy cars in a sandbox.

"You would think it (Martinsville experience) would be an advantage, but everybody who has ever raced in the Busch Series has cut their teeth on short tracks," said Hornaday, who finished 13th in his first Martinsville start, a Craftsman Truck Series race in 1994.

"Martinsville is unique ... there's no other track like it. The long straights, the black top to concrete and vice versa. Knowing all that and knowing how long the race is, what Dale Earnhardt taught me when I first started racing there ... how to save the brakes, all that has got to help me some."

Hornaday has been a role model for the over-40 set this season, experiencing a racing rebirth of sorts. Racing out of the shops of Kevin and Delana Harvick, Hornaday is running the entire Craftsman Truck Series schedule and a limited Busch Series schedule.

On the Truck Series side, he has a win, three top-five finishes and five top-10 finishes.

In six starts in the Busch Series, Hornaday has one top five, a fifth at Dover, and a pair of top 10s, including a seventh at Bristol.

"You're only as good as your car, as good as your team and Kevin and Delana have given me the best opportunity I've ever had," said Hornaday, a two-time Craftsman Truck Series champion.

Hornaday has more than a dozen truck series starts at Martinsville, but despite his overall success in that series, he has never driven to victory lane at the historic Virginia track.

"I have not won there ... I've been close so many times," said Hornaday, whose best Martinsville finish was a third in the NAPA 250 in 1998. "I've been right there. We've put on a good show. We've had top fives and come so close to winning Martinsville."

But just because Hornaday hasn't won at Martinsville doesn't mean he doesn't know the recipe for a victory in the Goody's 250.

"The pits are a little tight, so you've got to hit your marks coming in so you don't get blocked in. You've got to have great pit stops, you've got to keep the fenders on the car for the whole race. If you start tearing the thing up, you won't be there at the end. And you've got to keep the brakes under the car."

And of course there's the one ingredient the 48-year-old Hornaday probably understands much more than any of his much younger competitors -- patience.

"You've got to have a lot of patience. You have to take advantage when you come up on lapped cars. A lot of these kids don't know anything about the curbs at Martinsville," said Hornaday. "There are just so many variables at Martinsville. You've got to know who you are racing and how to race them. If you don't have patience, you're going to be in trouble."

The Goody's 250 NASCAR Busch Series action kicks off with an open test session on Thursday, July 20 from noon until 7 p.m. The test session will be open to the public at no charge.

On Friday, July 21, there will be a practice from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. followed by a rookie practice from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The final practice will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 21. Friday admission is $5.

Qualifying is set for 12:05 p.m. Saturday, July 22 with the Goody's 250 set to start at 3:30 p.m.

Goody's 250 tickets are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or visiting www.racetickets.com on the web. Tickets are $30 in advance and $40 the day of the event.

-Martinsville Speedway

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr.