BUSCH: Phoenix II: Ron Hornaday preview

HORNADAY LOOKS TO END 2005 SEASON ON A HIGH NOTE WITH SMITH & WESSON NASCAR BUSCH TEAM AT PHOENIX AVONDALE, Ariz. (November 8, 2005) -- It's the last race of 2005 for veteran driver Ron Hornaday and the ...

HORNADAY LOOKS TO END 2005 SEASON ON A HIGH NOTE WITH SMITH & WESSON NASCAR BUSCH TEAM AT PHOENIX

AVONDALE, Ariz. (November 8, 2005) -- It's the last race of 2005 for veteran driver Ron Hornaday and the #30 Smith & Wesson Chevrolet team of SKI Motorsports, and they're looking to make Saturday's Arizona 200 on the Phoenix International Raceway mile oval their best of their inaugural NASCAR Busch Series season.

Like last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, the Smith & Wesson Racing machine will feature a stunning black-and-white paint scheme as part of the company's tribute to America's law enforcement heroes. As part of the tribute program, run in conjunction with the national Fraternal Order of Police organization, Det. Jennifer Fulford of the Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff's Department will serve as honorary crew chief for the weekend.

"We've had our share of ups and downs this season, and there would be nothing better than to end our first season together on an up note," said Hornaday, who was tabbed to drive the Smith & Wesson Chevrolet at five of its eight scheduled events in 2005. "Hopefully, our misfortune during qualifying at Texas last week is the end of that sort of thing and we can do what I know we're capable of doing at Phoenix. It's practically my home track, so I'm ready to make something happen."

A sway arm bolt was sheared off the right-front of the Smith & Wesson race car during Hornaday's qualifying run at Texas last Friday, costing him valuable time on the racetrack. Still, Hornaday outqualified 20 of the 54 competitors attempting to make the 43-car starting grid, but not enough of the mostly fellow part-time teams who weren't guaranteed a spot in the field and had to make the race based on qualifying speed.

"Ron did everything he could do, but it just wasn't meant to be," said Bob Schacht, who took over crew chief duties for the Smith & Wesson program after the Labor Day weekend race at Fontana, Calif. "Even though he was trying to qualify, essentially, without the benefit of a sway bar, Ron clocked a heck of a good lap. We can only imagine how fast he would have been if the suspension stayed together. We're taking the same car to Phoenix and I think the tight, mile oval suits the car even better. Ron knows the track well, so it will be up to us to get the car to feel just the way he wants it."

#30 SMITH & WESSON/SKI MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET RACE NOTES

Saturday's Arizona 200 is the last of eight races on the 2005 schedule for the #30 Smith & Wesson/SKI Motorsports Chevrolet. Nextel Cup regular Scott Riggs debuted the car March 12 at Las Vegas, qualifying 30th and finishing 21st. The following weekend at Atlanta, two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday, Jr., took over and qualified 25th before retiring after an opening-lap accident. Riggs took over again at Charlotte in May, and then Mike Bliss came within a lap and a half of scoring a top-10 finish at Daytona in July. Hornaday was back behind the wheel for back-to-back races at Bristol and California, the latter race featuring the #30 car's best qualifying effort of the season of 24th.

Hornaday has six previous Busch series starts at Phoenix. He finished sixth or better in four of those six. He's also won twice in 10 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series starts with seven other top-10 finishes, and has raced six times in Nextel Cup Series action.

With Det. Jennifer Fulford of the Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff's Department serving as honorary crew chief here this weekend, Smith & Wesson, in conjunction with the national Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), continues a special tribute to the nation's law enforcement heroes. In a harrowing incident early last year, Det. Fulford was shot 10 times while responding to a child hostage incident at a private residence before returning fire and taking the life of the two gunmen. She has been widely recognized for her courage in the incident.

Joining the Smith & Wesson Racing team for this weekend's tribute to law enforcement are Patrick Yoes, national secretary of the FOP's Grand Lodge Headquarters in Nashville, and Bryan Sollar, president of the Arizona chapter of the FOP. Scottsdale Police officer Tim Wattier also is a guest of the Smith & Wesson team this weekend. Officer Wattier served for more than a year in Iraq as a major in the U.S. Army.

Crew chief Bob Schacht, a 35-year veteran in stock car racing, is the only ARCA series driver with wins in 19 consecutive seasons, and also has 23 Nextel Cup starts. As a crew chief, he has a reputation for fielding fast race cars and developing young drivers. One of his latest "projects" was current young Nextel Cup driver Stuart Kirby. Among Schacht's racing innovations is a drivers "suit cooler" utilized in several racing series. Schacht also prepared the race cars used in the movie "Days of Thunder."

-ski-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr. , Scott Riggs , Stuart Kirby , Mike Bliss , Bob Schacht