Daytona: Ron Hornaday preview

RON HORNADAY Welcome Back Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 15, 2005) - "Welcome back Ron Hornaday." These may not be the sentiments of everyone in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS), primarily anyone who has to race against him. But they...

RON HORNADAY
Welcome Back

Daytona Beach, Fla. (February 15, 2005) - "Welcome back Ron Hornaday." These may not be the sentiments of everyone in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS), primarily anyone who has to race against him. But they certainly are the feelings of the fans that follow the series. After a successful stint in the NASCAR Busch Series, Hornaday returns full time to the series where he made a name for himself. Hornaday will pilot the No. 6 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado owned by Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI), and expectations could not be higher. Anything less than contending for the series championship would be considered a let down.

"I am so excited about getting to come back and race trucks again," says Hornaday. "The trucks are where I made a name for myself. They are my love. The opportunity that Kevin and DeLana (Harvick), as well as GM Goodwrench have given me is awesome. I know what they expect from me and I fully plan on delivering."

Hornaday's peers consider him one of the best drivers to ever race in the NCTS and he has the numbers to prove it. He amassed a record 26 wins and won the series championship twice (1996 and 1998). Hornaday is a highly respected driver and his aggressive style often draws comparisons to the man who gave him his start- Dale Earnhardt. With his history in the NCTS and the quality of ride that KHI has given him, Hornaday has been the obvious choice by many to win the series championship for a third time.

"I am not concerned with what other people say about how I should finish the season," Hornaday said when asked about being the favorite to a win the championship. "The quality of competition is so high this year that any slip-ups could cost you the trophy."

Points of Interest...

* Racing Rivals...Hornaday will be racing this year against his close friend Jack Sprague. In the past "friends" would not be the word used to describe the two former champions. "Bitter rivals," would better portray the relationship between Hornaday and Sprague in the early years of the NCTS. The two had a strong dislike for each other on and off the race track leading to some classic on track moments and off track feuds.

* What goes around...California natives Kevin Harvick and Ron Hornaday will be reunited this year in a surprising case of role reversal. Harvick often credits Hornaday with helping him get his start in NASCAR and now Harvick is repaying the generosity by giving Hornaday an opportunity to race for one of the top teams in the NCTS.

* In the hauler...Team GM Goodwrench will kick off the season in Daytona using chassis No. 001. This is a brand new chassis for the 2005 season.

* TV and Radio...Start time for Friday night's Florida Dodge Dealers 250 is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 100 lap event will begin at 8:00 p.m. on the SPEED channel, with radio coverage being broadcast by MRN. Remember time and date of the race may change, so check your local listings.

No. 6 GM Goodwrench driver Ron Hornaday on Daytona Int'l Speedway...

Explain what your last truck race at Daytona was like.

"That is a good story. I had just finished racing for A.J. Foyt and I wasn't sure what I was going to do next. I asked Rick Hendrick for some advice and he said that he would keep his eyes open if anything came up. As I got up to walk out he asked if I wanted to race a truck at Daytona, which is something I had wanted to do for a while. He pulled out Ricky's (Hendrick) truck from the museum to take down there. We didn't practice at all but I was still able to qualify 2nd. I ran up front most of the day until someone got into me coming off of pit road. We were able to rally and I ended up finishing pretty well. We wanted to win that race- that would make a better story, but we were still proud of what we accomplished that day."

How is the draft at Daytona?

"The draft at Daytona is huge. Those big rear spoilers really allow the truck behind to suck up. With all the air being pushed up a much bigger hole is created. When we get side by side we really pick up a lot of RPMs. The draft makes for an exciting race because there should be a lot of lead changes."

What a good place for you and Sprague to renew your rivalry.

"Jack and I have been doing this a long time. When we first started racing against each other we raced real hard, not to say we won't still race hard now, but we are older and wiser. We have fun together now. We used to not like each other but we always respected each other. Chevrolet certainly doesn't want to hear me say that we plan on beating and banging around the track like we used to- but I guarantee that we will both know where the other one is on the race track."

No. 6 GM Goodwrench crew chief Wally Rogers on Daytona Int'l Speedway...

"Daytona just gets me excited. The guys have been working well together and we finally get to see our hard work pay off. We learned a lot during testing and I think we have a good chance to make some noise Friday night under the lights.

-khi-

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , A.J. Foyt