BUSCH: Texas II: Ron Hornaday preview

HORNADAY, SMITH & WESSON PAY TRIBUTE TO AMERICA'S LAW ENFORCEMENT HEROES AT TEXAS FORT WORTH, Texas (Nov. 1, 2005) -- Ron Hornaday comes to Texas Motor Speedway for Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series O'Reilly Challenge sporting a new look for his...


FORT WORTH, Texas (Nov. 1, 2005) -- Ron Hornaday comes to Texas Motor Speedway for Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series O'Reilly Challenge sporting a new look for his #30 Smith & Wesson Chevrolet of SKI Motorsports, as well as a new crew chief, all of which he hopes will push him and the first-year team to a breakthrough result on the 1.5-mile high-banked tri-oval.

For its final two of eight scheduled events in its inaugural season on the Busch tour (here this weekend, then next weekend on the mile oval at Phoenix), Hornaday's racing machine will feature a stunning "black-and-white" paint scheme as a special tribute to America's law enforcement heroes. As part of the tribute program -- a cooperative effort between Smith & Wesson and the national Fraternal Order of Police -- Officer James Niggemeyer of the Columbus (Ohio) Police Department will act as honorary crew chief for the Smith & Wesson Racing team. Niggemeyer's heroic actions at a Columbus nightclub last December ended a deadly shooting spree that took four lives, including that of famed rock guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott of the Dallas-based group Damageplan.

Calling the shots for the Smith & Wesson team will be NASCAR and ARCA series veteran driver and crew chief Bob Schacht, who joined the program since its last outing at California Speedway Labor Day weekend and had a successful day of testing here with Hornaday and the #30 car last week. Needless to say, they're anticipating a solid run this weekend and next.

"I think we're going to be in good shape," said Hornaday, who's third in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings and will also compete in Friday night's Silverado 350K. "Texas should be a good track for us. It's one of the many mile-and-a-half ovals we run on, but I wouldn't call it a cookie-cutter track. It has bumps and multiple grooves and has taken on quite a character of its own. I like racing there a lot because it's fast. We got our car to do a lot of things well during our test last week, so we'll be that much farther along when we start practice on Friday."

"Ron's definitely a guy you know will get the most out of your race car," said Schacht, who earlier this season worked with young driver Stuart Kirby and successfully qualified in the field at five Nextel Cup events in the #51 Marathon Chevrolet. "We came back after our test last week and made some really good changes that I think will make things even better for the race."


* Saturday's O'Reilly Challenge is the seventh 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. The eighth and final event will be next weekend on the mile oval at Phoenix.

* Saturday's race will be the fifth career Busch start at Texas for Hornaday. His best finish was 12th in 2002. He also has one Nextel Cup start here, and five Craftsman Truck Series starts with a best finish of sixth this past June.

* With Officer James Niggemeyer of the Columbus (Ohio) Police Department serving as honorary crew chief here this weekend, Smith & Wesson, in conjunction with the national Fraternal Order of Police, kicks off a special tribute to the nation's law enforcement heroes. Commemorative merchandise featuring the FOP logo and "black-and-white" race car are now on sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the FOP's Grand Lodge Foundation. Items, including hats, t-shirts and die-cast race cars, can be purchased at www.smith-wesson-racing.com, at the Smith & Wesson Racing trackside trailer, at selected collector's shops and sporting goods outlets, and the QVC Shopping Network.

* Next weekend at Phoenix, Det. Jennifer Fulford of the Orange County (Florida) Sheriff's Department, who was shot 10 times before ending a child hostage incident early last year, will serve as honorary crew chief for the Smith & Wesson Chevrolet team.

* New crew chief Bob Schacht is a veteran of 35-plus years in stock car racing. He's the only ARCA series driver with wins in 19 consecutive seasons. He also has 23 career Nextel Cup starts as a driver. As a crew chief, he has a solid 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 unique drivers "suit cooler" utilized in several racing series. Schacht also prepared the race cars used in the movie "Days of Thunder."

* Continuing its ongoing efforts in support of the Department of Justice's Project ChildSafe gun safety outreach program initiated at Charlotte in May, Smith & Wesson will be giving away free handgun safety locks this weekend at the Smith & Wesson Trackside Trailer.


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Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr. , Scott Riggs , Stuart Kirby , Mike Bliss , Bob Schacht