Ron Hornaday Jr. got some interesting advice from NASCAR veteran Mark Martin when he found out he would become a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.
“This don’t mean anything right now. Give it about six months, where the things you’ve done in racing, it will hit you of who you helped, how you handled yourself,” Hornaday, 59, recalled Martin saying.
“It’s not all about all the races you won and all that stuff, it’s about all the people’s hearts you touched.”
Several months later and preparing for his induction into the NASCAR Hall on Friday night, Hornaday appreciates Martin’s advice and how it has helped him realize the true meaning of the honor.
“I was pretty humbled,” he said. “I didn’t know how to take what the Hall of Fame is all about. It’s really come around. I can really see the other end of the light where Mark was talking about where everybody is reaching out, the awesome letters I’m getting from all my sponsors through the years I’ve done and stuff.
“It’s really bringing back memories. It’s been really darn cool.”
Hornaday, a second-generation racer from Palmdale, Calif., will be the first driver inducted into the Hall who spent the majority of his career competing in the Camping World Truck Series.
He won a record four Truck Series championships and 51 wins. Hornaday holds the Truck Series all-time marks for top-fives (158) and top-10s (234). In 2009, he won five straight Truck Series races, a feat matched only three other times in NASCAR national series history.
Hornaday embarked on his first NASCAR national series full-time season in the Truck Series’ inaugural season in 1995, winning six races and finished third in the series standings for Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s No. 16 Chevrolet. He also drove for owners Kevin Harvick, Joe Dennette, Bob Newberry and Steve Turner during his Truck career.
Four more wins followed a year later, and a championship along with it. He’d go on to win three more championships and 41 more races before his final full-time season in 2014.
“I hope I can represent the Truck Series like they put my career on the map, what they’ve done for my whole family,” Hornaday said.
“I definitely owe everything to NASCAR and the France family for starting the Truck Series, and that phone call from Earnhardt of giving me an opportunity to make it big-time.”