Atlanta II: Hornaday - Friday media visit

RON HORNADAY, JR. NO. 33 VFW SILVERADO, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed the championship battle with Johnny Benson, Camping World being named the new sponsor of the truck series, the economy and other ...

RON HORNADAY, JR. NO. 33 VFW SILVERADO, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed the championship battle with Johnny Benson, Camping World being named the new sponsor of the truck series, the economy and other subjects.

GIVE US AN ASSESSMENT OF HOW THE SEASON HAS BEEN AND WHERE YOU SEE IT GOING HERE IN THE NEXT FOUR RACES. "I wish I could say that because I don't know where it is going. (Mike) Skinner and I had a battle like this last year and it took one of us to have to have problems. At Texas we spun out and Skinner finished third and put him back in the lead. We went on to Phoenix and Homestead. Same deal this year. Johnny (Benson) would have had a pretty good points lead if he didn't blow a tire at Vegas and if I hadn't run out of gas (last week at Martinsville) I would still be in the points lead. So this is the way the season is going. I can blame Jack Sprague for Bristol, he ran in to the back of me and took me out of the race (LAUGHS). But other than that, you aren't going to do that. It is just one of those seasons. We are just going to have to watch our Ps and Qs. Cross the Ts and dot the Is and keep doing what we have been doing. Try to win races and lead the most laps and hopefully we can catch Johnny, but they have been strong. Every time I have tried to win a race, Johnny finishes second. If I finish second, he finishes third. It is going to come down to the wire. I am glad to see Johnny is running good for Bill Davis. He has been there every year. He has been having problems. I remember last year he blew a tire or something here and the year before that lost a drive shaft. Anything can happen. We are going to make sure our tires wear perfect. Hopefully we can get on the track and this rain lets up and we can see our tire wear. We are just going to race the race track and worry about Johnny at Homestead."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT CAMPING WORLD BEING ANNOUNCED AS THE NEW SPONSOR FOR THE TRUCK SERIES? "What Marcus (Lemonis) is doing with Camping World and with us winning the championship shows what kind of publicity he can get out of it. Now with being the major sponsor of the truck series will be good. It is going to be hard because we are so dedicated to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, with what Craftsman has done. We didn't have a sponsor when this series started in 1995 and they came on board and have done great things with NASCAR and put it where it is at. I am sure Marcus and everyone at Camping World is going to do the same thing with NASCAR. Going to bring bigger and better things. I am looking forward to it. That just shows everybody that the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, now going to be Camping World Series is not going anywhere. They signed for seven years. I am pretty proud of that. It means a lot. At least I have seven more years of racing."

DOES THE WORLDWIDE FINANCIAL CRISIS HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE TECHNICAL SPENDING FOR YOUR TEAM? "I can't answer that, I know we are set for next year with all of our support from Chevrolet, VFW and Camping World. If we quit talking about it, I don't think we have a crisis. That is the whole deal. I think the United States is just as strong as we ever were. It is just an election year, that is all there is to it right now. You couldn't talk about it last year; we are doing the same thing we did last year. I don't know, I am not a politician, I can't answer that really."

DID THE RUN-IN WITH JACK SPRAGUE AT BRISTOL HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH HIS DEPARTURE FROM KEVIN HARVICK, INC? "Jack and I are definitely still friends. We had dinner last night. We follow each other in our coaches back and forth from the track. That is between him and Kevin (Harvick). I don't know. I think it was a mutual deal that he wasn't happy because he was running good, but he wasn't finishing good. We needed results. We have to have two trucks running up front, which he was doing, but we didn't have the finishes it. To answer for Jack, I can't. Him and I are still friends, yes, we are great friends. We will keep going on. Anything I can do to help him out to keep his career going, I will do that."

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO CRAFTSMAN THAT THEY ARE LEAVING THE SERIES? "I don't know what it means to Craftsman to be leaving, I thought it was a good match. I thought with what Craftsman brought to the table when we didn't have a sponsor in '95, everything we have accomplished. We had a five-year plan when they first started in the first year of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Then we went to a 10-year plan. For anyone to come in to a new sport like they did and support the series like they did the first seven years, or five year, whatever the signed, that means a lot. To re-sign two more times, that says that Johnny and I are doing our jobs, all the owners are doing their jobs giving us great trucks to drive. To bring to Atlanta is amazing. When they said they were going to Daytona and Atlanta, these trucks were built to go under a mile, it is going to be short track beatin' and bangin'. Tough trucks, tough drivers. Now we are sitting here at Talladega, Atlanta, Daytona. That just says a lot what Craftsman and NASCAR has worked on with all the manufacturers through the wind tunnels to get these things to run that fast. We are going to miss them; they have done a lot for our sport. I am sure that Camping World is going to step up and do bigger and better things too."

WHAT WILL IT DO TO THE QUALITY OF RACING IF WE DON'T HAVE THE FIELDS WE HAVE NOW IN THE TRUCK SERIES? "If you go back to when the truck series started, we used to run 43 trucks; it is just a quality thing. The trucks, the teams, everything. They broke it down and they built some great teams and we have some good runners. I think there are only something like four or five teams. I think some of the local teams with Kevin, Bill Davis and the others are actually helping these teams out so they can keep on running, keep staying running. That is what the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is all about. We are one big family. It takes the guy who finishes last and it takes the guy that wins to make a race. It takes 36 trucks so we have to keep them out there somehow. Times are tough; it is going to get better. It could get worse, but it doesn't matter. We are still racing and we are going to make the best of it.

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Jack Sprague