BUSCH: Bristol II: Ron Hornaday preview

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 24, 2004) -Bristol Motor Speedway has been called many things. The track claims that it is "racin' the way it ought to be". Drivers have said that racing at Bristol is like flying a fighter jet in a gymnasium. ACDelco...

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 24, 2004) -Bristol Motor Speedway has been called many things. The track claims that it is "racin' the way it ought to be". Drivers have said that racing at Bristol is like flying a fighter jet in a gymnasium. ACDelco Chevrolet driver Ron Hornaday has another word for it. One in which every person who has ever entered the facility has uttered..."Awesome."

Hornaday first came to Bristol Motor Speedway in 1995 to run the All-Pro Series race. The competitors laughed at the Palmdale, Ca., native when he unloaded his NASCAR Southwest Tour car. The car was perfectly legal for the race, but even the officials told Hornaday he had brought a slingshot to a gunfight. After qualifying 23rd, it looked like the other drivers might have been right. But once the race started, they were proved wrong. Hornaday charged through the field and took the lead just 50 laps into the race. He pulled away to a three-quarter of a lap lead and was on his way to the win. But on this night there would be no happy ending. Hornaday broke an oil line and after repairs finished deep in the field.

From that early race, Bristol has been a favorite track of Hornaday. And when the lights are turned on, the former "slingshot" racer from California feels something extra. "There is just something about night racing at Bristol," said Hornaday. "It's very hard to explain. I get goose bumps. I have to try to calm myself down because the excitement and the adrenaline rush is overwhelming. I love this race."

Points of Interest...

* Green-White-Hornaday...Ron Hornaday scored seven of his NASCAR Truck Series record 26 wins via green-white-checkered (G-W-C) finishes. He has the most wins of any driver in NASCAR under this finishing format. He won 70% of all G-W-C finishes he was involved in.

* You have to first finish...At Michigan International Speedway last Saturday; Hornaday extended his NASCAR Busch Series record for consecutive races without a DNF. The ACDelco Chevrolet has been running at the end of 62 straight races. The last DNF for Hornaday was an engine failure at Kansas Speedway last year.

* Bristol Track Stat...Hornaday has two victories at Bristol Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. If that seems impressive, check this out. In one of the races, Hornaday led every lap. In the other, he led 200 of 208 laps. In 1997, Hornaday drove his Silverado to the win leading 200 of 200 laps. In 1998, Hornaday led 190 of the 200 laps, but the race was extended eight more laps thanks to the G-W-C finish. Hornaday beat Jack Sprague to the line on lap 206 to take win number two. In all, Hornaday led 396 of 406 laps for back-to-back wins at Bristol.

* What ya' Haulin'...The ACDelco transporter will unload chassis No. 027 at Bristol Motor Speedway. It is the same car that was crashed after contact with Greg Biffle at Dover International Speedway on June 5. The car has been completely rebuilt since that day and will make its debut as a short track car this weekend.

* Last year at Bristol...Hornaday qualified 14th, but wasted little time in racing to the front. Hornaday avoided the many crashes that slowed the race and by lap 142 took over as the leader. Hornaday led until lap until 185, when Michael Waltrip slipped past. After a brief caution on lap 197, Hornaday drove past Waltrip on the restart and led until lap 217, when Waltrip bumped his way into the lead. The ACDelco Chevrolet battled for the win but had to settle for second. The finish moved Hornaday to third in points, just 97 out of first. Hornaday went on to battle for the 2003 Busch Series championship finishing third, just 46 points behind Brian Vickers.

* ACDelco kind of track...Kevin Harvick, driving the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet, took back-to-back Food City 250 wins in 2000 and 2001. Richard Childress Racing's Busch cars have won two Food City 250 poles and two Food City 250 races since 2000.

No. 2 ACDelco driver Ron Hornaday on Bristol Motor Speedway...

After your last two races (28th at IRP and 18th at MIS) are you happy to be racing at Bristol this weekend?

"I love racing at Bristol and so I am happy to be here. But this isn't one of those safe races you look for on the schedule to turn things around. As much as I like the track, it can bite you in a hurry. This is probably the only track where even if you're leading you can get caught up in a crash. Everything happens so fast."

"Butch (Hylton, crew chief) and the guys have been working hard on this car. It was the car we crashed at Dover. It was also raced at Lowe's Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. But they rebuilt it and made it a short track car and they are very excited to unload it. That kind of enthusiasm carries over to a driver. I think this is going to be a great race for us."

Last year you finished second in this race. What can you do different to get the win?

"Nothing. We had a great car. Waltrip just had fresher tires. But he had to race through a lot of traffic to get to me and pass me. In most races at Bristol, you can't do that. You end up in a wreck. But the cautions weren't around him and he caught us without incident. I was surprised that we could stay with him despite our older tires. That's a tribute to RCR and all the work that goes into the cars. If the race plays out the same as it did last year, I think we can get the win. We are a lot better than we were last year."

You are 536 points out of first place. Have you finally given in to the fact that the championship is unlikely?

"In this sport you never know what can happen. We are always racing for wins. That's goal number one. But in every race, you have to score as many points as you can. We know we are way behind in the championship chase. But there are plenty of goals that we want to achieve. Some teams may have given up on 2004 and started working on research for 2005. But that's not what this ACDelco team is about."

-rcr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jack Sprague , Brian Vickers
Teams Richard Childress Racing