Phoenix: 2009 Champion post race interview

RON HORNADAY, JR. , NO. 33 VFW SILVERADO CONGRATULATIONS ON THIS FOURTH TRUCK SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP: "Thank you. I couldn't think of a better track. I love Phoenix. It looked pretty grim for a while, but it's not over by far. We're racing...

RON HORNADAY, JR. , NO. 33 VFW SILVERADO

CONGRATULATIONS ON THIS FOURTH TRUCK SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP:

"Thank you. I couldn't think of a better track. I love Phoenix. It looked pretty grim for a while, but it's not over by far.

We're racing Kyle Busch for the owner's points -- that's the true goal. That shows how great our team is and Kyle (Busch) has really been running strong. He's got six or seven wins this year. We're going to do everything we can to hold him off down there. At least we can go down there and have a little fun and race a little different now -- we can have some fun."

IS YOUR STRATEGY TO RACE SMART AND NOT MAKE ANY MISTAKES?:

"I guess you didn't watch the race because we tried to race smart. We left the gas can out in the back and that put us pretty far back. I was sweating it out because I got behind the 11 (TJ Bell) and I just started pushing real bad and I thought my right front tire started blistering. I put about five turns of rear brake in it and started sliding it in. I learned something a little bit. Third to the last restart I got in there and the thing wouldn't turn and it just started shoving the tires.

I had to put more rear brake in it then. Luckily, that all happened that run because that put us in the top-five and Johnny Sauter was really coming strong. To come home in the top-five, that's what we needed to do to keep Matt (Crafton) behind us. Matt (Crafton) is a heck of a racer, I'm glad they turned their program around. They gave us a run for our money all year long. There's just so many people to thank. You guys have been following all year what it takes to go racing with Copart, Longhorn, VFW, Georgia Boots, hold on one more, one more -- Turtle Wax. It takes a lot and having all them sponsors work together and do what they've done, it works great. Mark Smith with the motor program, what he's done with Chevrolet and everything that they do -- the wind tunnel and what they do with all their support -- it just take a bunch of people and I'm just fortunate enough and my wife and I are old enough to where the kids are growing up and now we're coming to the race track and having fun."

HOW SIGNIFICANT IS THIS CHAMPIONSHIP IN NASCAR HISTORY? HOW BIG OF A DEAL IS IT TO YOU TO SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM JACK SPRAGUE AND BE THE FIRST GUY TO WIN FOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS?:

"You said it, I got one up on (Jack) Sprague and that's all that counts. I said it on my interview out there, I told him that now he has to come back and try to get a fourth one and just keep me racing. Jack (Sprague) and I have been fighting for wins and championships back and forth and Jack (Sprague) kind of quit and gave me a little head start so I don't know how many he's won -- he's got 27 or 28 wins and I think we're back and forth. I would win 23 and he would be 24 and then I was 24 and he was 25. It's been a fun battle with Jack (Sprague) and I wish he was still out here. He's a heck of a little racer.

I don't know -- I don't look it -- I have to build another trophy case I guess. I only have five so I'll have to move one over and put two together. This has been a long week, Lindy's (Hornaday) Mom went through surgery, she came out of that real well. They only gave her a 35 percent chance of surviving it and she came out of it real well. She's at home today so we can't wait to get home and see her tomorrow."

HOW COOL IS IT TO THINK ABOUT THE DRIVERS THAT HAVE SLEPT ON YOUR COUCH -- JIMMIE JOHNSON, KEVIN HARVICK? COULD YOU HAVE IMAGINED THAT GUYS SLEEPING ON YOUR COUCH COULD HAVE AS MANY CHAMPIONSHIPS AS THEY HAVE AND YOU WOULD HAVE THIS MANY?:

"My wife made me sleep on the couch last week. It's kind of cool and I think this is the payback -- what Kevin and Delana (Harvick) have given me. It's not over, we have to go win that owner's points for them. They definitely deserve it, they give me great trucks all year. The truck Kevin (Harvick) drove tonight was a 2010 -- what we're going to run next year. A lot of help from Chevrolet and Kevin (Harvick) never quits. I went in the shop like two weeks ago and we had 14 trucks, I got down there and there's only five trucks left. I said, 'Where's all the trucks?' They said, 'Kevin sold them all -- you're getting all new ones again next year.' I think we won five races in a row and they were all brand new trucks so my hats off to the boss man right here -- he knows what it takes to win.

Here's the boss lady, I forgot. It's been fun and we're not done. As long as Kevin and Delana (Harvick) will still have me, we're going to win some more."

ARE YOU GOING TO DONATE THE COUCH TO THE NASCAR HALL OF FAME?:

"You know what's funny is that it don't work no more.

We had a good friend, Blake Feese slept on it and he went back that Monday morning and got fired from Hendrick. Or he didn't sleep the whole night on it and he left in the middle of the night. Kevin (Harvick) slept there for months. We got rid of the biggest part and we've got the smallest part. I really can't tell you the real story as to why they slept on the couch -- they just couldn't make it upstairs."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT PEOPLE SAYING THAT NASCAR IS A 'YOUNG MAN'S GAME' WHEN YOU ARE A CHAMPION AND MARK MARTIN IS BATTLING FOR THE SPRINT CUP CHAMPIONSHIP?:

"When you drive Kevin and Delana's (Harvick) equipment, you feel like you're 18 years old. If you want to watch the race from here last year, Kyle Busch was 22 back then or whatever, I tried to out drive him going into turn three. You feel young, the trucks they give me, it just makes me feel like a hero. It didn't show how good my truck was tonight. We were points racing and we did what we had to do. Kevin (Harvick) said he was going to win the race. Only one more week, he promises. I don't know how it feels. Next week when we try to win that owner's championship, then it will all come into play. Jimmie (Johnson) slept on the couch so I would like to see him win four (championships) too, but they've got their game together just like we do over at KHI (Kevin Harvick Incorporated). It's fun to drive the trucks and I'm sure Jimmie (Johnson) and Mark (Martin) and all them are having fun driving over there too."

HOW BIG OF A LUXURY IS IT TO WRAP UP THE CHAMPIONSHIP WITH ONE RACE REMAINING?:

"If you look at the whole year, we've had a pretty good points lead then we ended up blowing the tire at Dover and Matt (Crafton) caught us. Then we had another bad race where we ran out of fuel and Matt (Crafton) passed us. We're not even done racing -- we have to go down and race Kyle Busch. Those owner's points mean more to me than that trophy because it says that whole team worked hard and we beat everybody. Kyle Busch comes in and pulls an upset, then it's going to be terrible. We're going to go out and do what we have to do and Kyle's (Busch) on a roll. He almost won three last weekend. We're going to try to go out there and get the owner's championship and we're not done racing."

HOW NICE IS IT TO CLINCH THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN PHOENIX?:

"I already said how nice it is -- I think Kevin (Harvick) was telling (Ricky) Carmichael that I raced it when it was dirt before they even started it.

It was fresh asphalt. It's cool, I'm not talking about the championship, it's cool to win it for me, but it's not over yet and it's not even close. Kevin and Delana (Harvick) deserve a lot more because of the equipment that they give me, the people that they put in places -- it takes a lot. To get all our sponsors to work together, the program that they put together to make it happen, this is what it's all about."

IS THERE AN ADDED SPECIAL SENSE OF WINNING THIS CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE SAME WEEK AS VETERAN'S DAY AND SO SOON AFTER THE TRAGEDY AT FORT HOOD?:

"I appreciate that. We've been VFW for the past couple races and its hard to go out there and see all them soldiers, men and women and see the tragedy up there at Fort Hood. A lot of support from VFW and you can't say enough about them. I've got an opportunity to go to Iraq and see what those men and women do first hand and TV, newspapers and everything don't do it justice. I brought pictures home and I can't explain them to my wife, you have to smell and everything else. My hats off to all the men and women and its pretty cool and it's special and I never even thought about it, but thanks for bringing it up."

HOW UNIQUE IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU BEING A VETERAN DRIVER AND A YOUNG DRIVER, OWNER?:

"I'm mad because I couldn't go up there and race him for the win. I had to play it smart and I did what I had to do, we overcome our pit stop failure. Rick Ren (crew chief) made a great call by only putting one can of fuel in just to beat the 88 (Matt Crafton) out and it worked out great. It always fun to race Kevin (Harvick) because you know he's going to race 120 mph faster than you are. The first time I ran his Nationwide car and he was running two of them and he turned me sideways and passed me, I thought, 'Does he know he owns this car?' I couldn't go run into the back of him because he did that. That was the first experience that I really had with Kevin (Harvick), he don't really care whose car it is, he's going to move you out of the way to race it. You would be amazed for him being my good friend and now being my boss, the things that I don't do in front of him no more. Yes sir, no sir, yes mam, no mam. And I'll see you tomorrow or Monday morning."

KEVIN HARVICK , KEVIN HARVICK, INC. CO-OWNER:

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE RON HORNADAY WIN THE DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP?:

"In 2005, we put Ron (Hornaday) in the truck and we really didn't have our stuff together and we knew from that point that we had what we needed from the driver's side of it and we finally in 2007 built a team that was capable of keeping up with the driver. From that point on, it's been a lot of fun to watch and from an owner's standpoint, it's one of those things where you really don't have to do a whole lot because these guys, when they're off, they know it and they go to work and try to fix it.

If they do something wrong, you don't even have to tell them and they fix it. From an owner's standpoint, that makes life easy.

It's been a long year to say the least. With the economy and everything and everybody has really chipped in to make sure the team is where it needs to be from a performance standpoint. Been a lot of challenges and to see it finish with Ron (Hornaday) winning the championship is something that's really neat. I know it's very rewarding for Delana (Harvick) and I, but it's more rewarding to watch theses guys as a team and Ron (Hornaday) as a person, as a friend, as an employee, there's a lot of things that go with it and come into the equation. It's just a lot of fun to see it all evolve and come together."

CAN YOU SPEAK TO JIMMIE JOHNSON TALKING ABOUT RON HORNADAY BEING KNOWN FOR HELPING YOUNG RACERS?:

"I don't think that's it, you go over there and there's still a lot of people and their house is always open. It's always been that way. What you see is what you get with Ron and Lindy (Hornaday) and the whole family. It's always been one big family and if you want to be a part of it then come on over. That's just the way that they've always been.

Always been the same is what you can say. I know his hair has changed colors a couple times, but that's about it. To lock up the championship here for us is extra special too just for the fact that a lot of us spent a lot of time here growing up and racing here.

It's pretty cool, he's got a great following here and I know we've got a lot of fans here. It's fun to be able to win the race and win the championship and I know there's a lot of fans that appreciate that in this particular area."

HOW UNIQUE IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU BEING A VETERAN DRIVER AND A YOUNG DRIVER, OWNER?:

"I think for me, I think its just really neat for me just for the fact of the whole scenario as I came up through my career and I always think back to races at Mesa Marin and the nights that he and Rick Carelli and Mike Chase and all the guys that used to race in the open comp days back then and at the start of the Southwest Tour. I was sitting in the grandstands and now I have Ron (Hornaday) and Rick (Carelli) and Ernie Cope and a couple kids from the West Coast. We have Andy Houston who came up through the Truck Series so its just a lot of us that have raced together. I know from our standpoint, we don't go in the shop -- when they see me coming in the shop they think, 'Oh no, what is he going to make us build this week.' Its all about the race vehicles. There's a time and a place for the stuff on the other side of the wall from the marketing side of it, but I really enjoy the fact that we go in and we're very aggressive on how we build stuff. These guys go out and drive it and I really enjoy all different aspects of it so that makes it a lot of fun."

DELANA HARVICK , TEAM OWNER

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE RON HORNADAY WIN THE DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP?:

"I actually wasn't even going to come, I've been battling the flu and had the flu for the past week. I gave it to Ron (Hornaday) apparently. This is quite honestly the best medicine for anything that ales you. Just to watch Ron (Hornaday) go out and do what he does. I told him back in 2007 that he had a job forever -- I didn't tell him that he was going to get paid forever, but as long as he keeps winning championships we'll work on something.

I'm just so impressed with everybody at KHI (Kevin Harvick Incorporated) and like Kevin (Harvick) said, this year was pretty hard to come together. The challenges that we faced with the economy, but everybody at KHI pulled together and we worked toward a common goal. To see Ron (Hornaday) win his fourth championship is unbelievable."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Andy Houston , Matt Crafton , Rick Carelli , Johnny Sauter , Blake Feese , Kyle Busch