BUSCH: Atlanta: Ron Hornaday preview

ROUND TWO FOR SMITH & WESSON CHEVROLET AS HORNADAY TAKES THE REINS AT ATLANTA HAMPTON, Ga. (March 15, 2005) -- Watching on TV from his living room couch as Nextel Cup regular Scott Riggs debuted the ...


HAMPTON, Ga. (March 15, 2005) -- Watching on TV from his living room couch as Nextel Cup regular Scott Riggs debuted the #30 Smith & Wesson Chevrolet of SKI Motorsports in last Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series race at Las Vegas, Ron Hornaday liked what he saw.

Good thing, as the two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion was sizing up his first chance to pilot the red, white and blue Smith & Wesson racing machine at this Saturday's Aaron's 312 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

"I'm just as excited as can be," said Hornaday, who will be pulling double duty this weekend as he is also the regular driver of the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Silverado racetruck, which he'll race in Friday night's World Financial Group 200.

"From all indications, Scott and the Smith & Wesson car had a solid weekend at Las Vegas," Hornaday continued. "(Crew chief) Jeff Spraker and his boys had everything ready to go. Scott said the car was a little too tight on Saturday and they couldn't free it up enough to go racing at the end. Unfortunately, that's one thing you deal with when you're running a part-time schedule with the qualifying rules the way they are, and you have to devote more of your time and effort to your qualifying setup in practice. That's alright -- we'll get good at it, starting this weekend."

A successful test at Atlanta in his #6 Chevy racetruck a few weeks back is one of the reasons Hornaday feels confident about this weekend.

"We got the new tire compounds all figured out and learned a lot of new stuff that will help us in the Smith & Wesson car," he said. "Atlanta's been a good track for me over the years. The results haven't exactly shown that, but I feel very comfortable there, and I love to race on that track. I'm really looking forward to this weekend."

The Aaron's 312 weekend opens Friday with the first of two Busch series practice sessions beginning at 2:35 p.m. EST. Qualifying is set for Saturday at noon EST, with live coverage on SPEED-TV. Race time Saturday is 3 p.m. EST with live coverage on the FX cable network beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST.


* This weekend's Aaron's 312 is the second of eight NASCAR Busch Series events on the #30 Smith & Wesson/SKI Motorsports Chevrolet schedule for 2005. Nextel Cup regular Scott Riggs qualified 30th and finished 21st in its debut last Saturday (March 12) at Las Vegas. He'll return for events at Charlotte (May 28), Bristol (Aug. 26) and Texas (Nov. 5). In addition to this weekend here at Atlanta, Ron Hornaday will drive at Fontana, Calif. (Sept. 3) and Phoenix (Nov. 12). A driver has yet to be announced for the July 1 Busch race at Daytona.

* Saturday's race is slated to be Hornaday's sixth NASCAR appearance on the Atlanta Motor Speedway 1.5-mile quad-oval. In four previous Busch series starts from 2000-04, he has a best finish of 13th (2003) and a best qualifying effort of 19th (2002). He drove in the 2001 Nextel Cup race, qualifying 15th and finishing 29th.

* The SKI Motorsports team for 2005 is headed by chief engineer Jeff Spraker and car chief Scott Goyer, with preseason car chief support from Bill Henderson. While driver Scott Riggs brought his own over-the-wall pit crew for race day last weekend in Las Vegas, Ron Hornaday this weekend will utilize SKI Motorsports' own over-the-wall pit crew here at Atlanta. Hornaday's #6 GM Goodwrench Chevy Silverado racetruck crew chief Wally Rogers is expected to provide technical support for the Smith & Wesson team this weekend.

* Last weekend's Sam's Town 300 in Las Vegas may have been the first race for the Smith & Wesson NASCAR Busch Series program, but the company and its investors turned out in full force to witness its historic debut. Some 48 guests looked on from the Smith & Wesson suite at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when the green flag fell, including 14 members of the Smith & Wesson board of directors, and a number of high-level company executives.


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr. , Scott Riggs , Jeff Spraker