BUSCH: Phoenix Pole Story

NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division News Schrader scorches Phoenix for Bud Pole Hornaday leans on experience at Phoenix By Dave Rodman NASCAR Online PHOENIX (Nov. 4, 1999) Ron Hornaday will run full-time in the NASCAR Busch Series ...

NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division News Schrader scorches Phoenix for Bud Pole

Hornaday leans on experience at Phoenix By Dave Rodman NASCAR Online PHOENIX (Nov. 4, 1999)

Ron Hornaday will run full-time in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division next year. Ron Hornaday leaned heavily on the experience he garnered in three NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victories at Phoenix International Raceway Friday when he gained his first front row start in the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division. Hornaday held the Bud Pole for about five minutes after he ran a lap of 27.795 seconds around the oddly shaped desert mile, at an average speed of 129.520 mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet. NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Ken Schrader, scheduled to qualify five cars after Hornaday, nipped him by .013 seconds to knock the Palmdale, Calif., veteran to second.

Hornaday, who also has two victories and three Bud Poles in the Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring, at Phoenix, said every lap he's run at the track came into effect on Friday. Now he's looking forward to 200 laps of NASCAR Busch Series racing on Saturday.

"I'm just thrilled with what the guys at DEI have put together for me," said Hornaday. "We had an opportunity to test this car here but I'll tell you what -- I've driven a lot of vehicles here and done real well, and this is by far the best car I've ever had here."

Hornaday said that despite his background as a car builder, he didn't have to do all that much to point his guys in the right direction.

"I don't need to give them any input; they're awesome," he said of the No. 31 bunch led by Steve Hmiel. "Those guys have been with me for a long time and they know what I like. It's just great to get into a car that's as solid as that one and have the confidence that it's what you need."

"You don't have much time to wait for the car to take a set here," said Hornaday, who will move to the NASCAR Busch Series full-time next season with his Dale Earnhardt, Inc., team and compete for Raybestos Rookie of the Year. "You have to jump on it and make it turn, and I got into the corner good and jumped back into it. There's probably 40 guys who haven't driven much here (actually it's a lot less than that), but the ones who have qualified good."

Hornaday, who will also compete in next weekend's HotWheels.com 300 season finale at Homestead, was thrilled to have his first "custom-built" car from DEI for his use alone. With Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s team moving en masse to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series next season, Hornaday will take his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team to the NASCAR Busch Series but will use some of his teammate's equipment.

"This is the best car I've ever driven at PIR," said Hornaday, who's driven a lot of good ones. "It used all I could give it and I'm just glad to get it in the race."

"We didn't practice as well as we qualified, but part of qualifying is knowing the track. Most of the drivers aren't used to driving into the sun at Turn 1. I drove into one, hit my marks, shut my eyes, and it turned out to be a good lap.

"That was as quick as I wanted to go -- I got out of it shaking."

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Ken Schrader , Ron Hornaday Jr.