Phoenix International Raceway a Favorite for Third-Place Finisher Ron Hornaday
Avondale, Ariz. (February 27, 2011) - The No. 33 Sherwin-Williams Chevrolet team was ready for action during Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Phoenix International Raceway. Four-time series champion Ron Hornaday wheeled the Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) Chevrolet Silverado with a solid performance and ended the caution filled night with a third-place finish, shooting up the charts from 28th to 10th in the point standings.
The one-day event began with a one hour and fifty-minute practice session, followed by mid-afternoon qualifying at the 1.0-mile tri-oval. Hornaday was the 43rd truck out to qualify and was able to solidify a fourth-place starting position.
The green flag waved for the Lucas Oil 150 and the red, white and blue Sherwin-Williams machine remained in the fourth position for the first quarter of the race.
The first of eight caution flags came out on lap 43 for debris on the track left from another competitor making contact with the wall. During the caution period crew chief Jeff Hensley led Hornaday down pit road to top off with fuel and take four tires. With a solid pit stop, Hornaday lined back up in third position for the restart on lap 49.
A truck spun in turn two to bring out the second caution of the night on lap 59. The No. 33 KHI team elected to stay out and Hornaday was reminded to save fuel where he could. At the halfway mark, the Sherwin-Williams Chevrolet was fighting tight conditions as Hornaday followed KHI teammate Clint Boywer who was running in the second position.
Anticipating green-flag pit stops, the third caution flag dropped at lap 102 an accident in Turn 3, allowing the team to regroup and make the right adjustments to free up the vehicle. Taking four fresh tires, fuel and making a wedge adjustment, the No. 33 team was ready to make the most of the remaining laps.
Multiple back-to-back cautions flew over the next 30 laps but Hornaday was able to maintain his third-place restart position and hang on for the final green-flag run with 11 laps to go. On the final lap, the No. 33 Sherwin-Williams Chevrolet steadily held track position and captured a third-place finish. Kyle Busch took the checkered flag with KHI weekend teammate Clint Bowyer taking the second position.
A great night for the KHI Truck Series family was marked by two top-five finishes and a top-15 for Rookie of the Year contender, Nelson Piquet Jr., who was able to bring home a clean truck and a 13th-place finish. The Truck Series will take a weekend off and return to action on March 12 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, the track "Too Tough to Tame."
Comments from driver, Ron Hornaday:
"Phoenix is one of my favorite tracks and it was a great night for the No. 33 Sherwin-Williams Chevrolet." Hornaday stated after the race. "We were just way too tight. If we can work on this small adjustment at the shop, we'll be able to unload at the track that much better. We'll be the truck to beat.
"This was a great points night for the No. 33 team and for KHI. With Kyle and Clint not running for the Truck Series championship it allowed us to capitalize and make up 13 positions in the point standings. We are now 10th in the Driver's Point standings and only 14 points out of first."