March 18, 2003 (Bristol, TN)-If there is one track in the NASCAR world where Ron Hornaday dominated in the NASCAR Truck Series, it's Bristol Motor Speedway. The two-time Truck champion won events in 1997 and 1998 and in the process of winning...
March 18, 2003 (Bristol, TN)-If there is one track in the NASCAR world where Ron Hornaday dominated in the NASCAR Truck Series, it's Bristol Motor Speedway. The two-time Truck champion won events in 1997 and 1998 and in the process of winning those races, led every lap. Yes, you read that correctly. Every single lap. He led all 200 in 1997 and then in 1998, Hornaday scored the victory in "double overtime", taking a second green-white-checkered finish to lead all 206 laps.
Hornaday has not had nearly the success in the NASCAR Busch Series that he did in the trucks, but this year could be different. Since signing with RCR for 2003, Hornaday is currently fourth in points and has posted two straight top-10 finishes. And despite having only tested at Daytona so far in 2003, Hornaday feels the new team is beginning to gel.
So why not, Ron Hornaday. Lead 'em all!
Ron Hornaday, driver of the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet, comments on racing at Bristol Motor Speedway:
You have dominated at Bristol in the past. Do you feel like you can lead all the laps on Saturday?
"First we have to race on a Saturday! And I think rain is in the forecast again this weekend. I really enjoy racing at Bristol. You can drive hard from the drop of the green to the checkered flag. It is one of the few tracks anymore where you really don't have to save your stuff. Now with that said, you need to try to keep the fenders on the car and you can't slide it sideways through every corner, but you can race there and that's what I like about it."
"Now as far as leading every lap, I don't think that is possible in the NASCAR Busch Series. There are just too many good cars and smart crew chiefs. You would have to nail every pit stop and even then, somebody would stay out of track position and lead one. But I think you can lead a good number of them. It is a lot easier racing at Bristol when you're leading. You can dictate the pace and use the lap cars to an advantage. If you time them right, you can pin a guy behind a lapper and really pull away. Not that I would ever do that."
What is the biggest difference between the Truck Series and the Busch Series?
"The biggest difference is aerodynamics. The trucks push a lot of air, so it creates a big hole for the driver behind to draft up. Now, that's not a factor at Bristol, but that's really the biggest difference. As far a Bristol goes, you can really use the front nose of the truck. Because they aren't as slick in the front as cars, they can get damaged and not really affect the overall speed."
"The Busch cars on the other hand, you need to try to keep the fenders intact. You can still beat and bang and if you get a hole in the headlight area of the nose it's not that big a deal. But if you really tear up the front, the car won't turn as well and if you lose the bottom groove, you'll go backwards in a hurry. As close and as fast as we run now days, if you really tear up the nose, the radiator will be shot and your day will probably be over."
You are now fourth in points. What is the mood of the ACDelco team?
"I think everybody is happy that we are fourth in points, but we aren't content with that. We want to win races and that is what the goal is every week. If we have an off day, then we think points and this championship race and do the best we can. But when we unload the ACDelco Chevrolet, we are thinking win. We haven't won yet, so I know we are very hungry. This team is just now beginning to gel, so I think the next few races will be our best so far this year."
DID YOU KNOW?
* NASCAR's first available rain date is April 19, so nobody wants to race more in the next few races than Ron Hornaday. Ronnie Hornaday III is getting married on that day at the Hornaday house on Lake Norman. "Not only am I the grooms father, but I'm also the best man. I have to be here for the wedding, so we have to get all these races in now. If we have to race on April 19, I don't know what will happen. So please...no rain."
* Hornaday was in position to win the NASCAR Busch Series event in the fall of 2001 but got tangled up with Matt Kenseth racing for the lead off turn four. "I was on rails that race and Kenseth gave the bump and run to Steve Park in turn one for the lead and Park nearly got into the wall. I get this great run down the backstretch and catch Matt in turn three. I dove to the inside and we got together and both hit the wall. I had such a good run, that I thought he would let us go, but that didn't happen and we got together. I hated it for both of us, but that's how fast your luck can change at Bristol." Hornaday finished a disappointing 27th.
* While driving for A.J. Foyt in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 2001, Hornaday qualified third for the fall race at Bristol. It still is the highest starting position for the No. 14 in NASCAR Winston Cup since Foyt became a car owner.