BUSCH: Charlotte: Ron Hornaday preview

* I need a credential for "Uncle Mo" Ron Hornaday and the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet head to Charlotte, NC with a little momentum on their side. Not only did Hornaday win at Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania last week, he dominated, leading 148 of...

* I need a credential for "Uncle Mo"

Ron Hornaday and the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet head to Charlotte, NC with a little momentum on their side. Not only did Hornaday win at Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania last week, he dominated, leading 148 of the 200 laps. The victory was Hornaday's third career NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) win and his first driving for Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and ACDelco. In addition to winning, Hornaday posted his fifth straight top-five start by qualifying third last weekend.

* Mr. Guinness, I believe we have a record here.

Hornaday returns to Lowe's Motor Speedway as the current track record holder for the Busch Series. Last May, Hornaday drove the No. 26 Chevrolet of Carroll Racing around the 1.5-mile quad oval at a record speed of 182.094 mph (29.665 sec.).

* Testing, Testing. One, two, three.

The ACDelco Chevrolet attended the May 7 test at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but never got a chance to get up to speed. Hornaday took the car out for three laps to see if the track was dry enough to begin testing, but brought the car back in saying the track was still damp. Rain kept the No. 2 Monte Carlo off the track on Wednesday and a corporate appearance for ACDelco forced the team to pack up and head home on Thursday. Despite not getting to test, the team is very confident as to the setup for Saturday's Charlotte 300. Last year, RCR hit the setup perfectly, as the No. 21 RCR Chevrolet went to victory lane.

* Put me in coach.

Hornaday will be standing by on Sunday as a substitute driver for Robby Gordon in the Coca-Cola 600. Gordon will be racing in the Indianapolis 500 and is expected to return in time to start the Coca-Cola 600 in the No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet, even if he wins the Indy 500. However, Hornaday will be on standby in the event that should Gordon should need a replacement driver for any reason. Hornaday will practice the Cingular Wireless Chevrolet Saturday for a few laps, as required by NASCAR, in the event he needs to drive the car Sunday.

No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet driver Ron Hornaday on Lowe's Motor Speedway

You come into the Charlotte weekend with a lot of momentum on your side. How big was the win at Nazareth to your confidence and this ACDelco team?

"It was big for everybody including the team, RCR, ACDelco and myself. We turned the corner a couple weeks ago and really started to run like we expected. But then we got wrecked at Richmond (VA) running up front and the transmission broke at St. Louis (MO) while running fifth and we fell in the points. We were frustrated after both of those races because we knew we had been strong from the time we unloaded. So we knew a win was close and getting it at Nazareth was very special.

"These guys did such a great job getting this car changed over from St. Louis. I mean, they really worked their guts out. We changed the spindles and re-worked the front end geometry on the car and it handled so well. I can't say enough about this ACDelco team. Everybody is really pumped up right now. These guys have that look in their eye. They want to win them all right now and I think we have the cars and the team to win a lot of races. We just needed to get that first one. I think this is only the beginning!"

You won so many races in the NASCAR Truck Series that you have been in the NASCAR spotlight for several years. Because of that, many people think of you as a veteran in the Busch Series. But this is only your second full season. Has it been hard to live up to the fans and the media's expectations?

"The only expectations I try to live up to are those that I put on myself. This is just my second attempt at the full season in the Busch Series. I won't even make my 100th start until Daytona (Fla.) on July 4th. But I guess because I have been around so much that people immediately think that I have a lot of time in a Busch car. Last year I was ride hoping with Hendrick Motorsports and finally Carroll Racing, so I never had a chance to really get into a groove and prepare for a season with the same guys. And really thinking about it now, in 2000 at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. we were coming straight from trucks, so I had no idea what to expect in the Busch car. This year is really the first year that I feel like I have been totally prepared for the season and I think the results show that."

You won the pole at Lowe's Motor Speedway last year. So tell us, what is the fastest way around the 1.5-mile track?

"I love this Lowe's Motor Speedway track. It is very fast and it is a driver's track. You need to be right on the bottom for qualifying, but during the race you can run both high and low and sometimes right in the middle. The track tends to get slick and you slide around a little, but it's a lot of fun. You main concern from a setup standpoint is the weather. This track is so sensitive to temperature changes and clouds rolling in. It changes it a lot. You have to be ready to make adjustments. No matter how well you are running, you will have to adjust on the car at some point during the race.

"We haven't finished at Lowe's like we know we can, but this is my first attempt at the race with RCR- so I just throw all the old finishes out the window. The way this team is performing right now, I know we will have a great run and hopefully we can get our second straight win."

Hornaday on being a "stand by" driver for Robby Gordon's No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet: You are standing by as a substitute driver for Robby Gordon in the No. 31 RCR Chevrolet. How do you prepare for a race when you don't know whether you are going to race or not?

"You just prepare that you are going to race. Then if you don't, you lose nothing. I am very excited for Robby and his chances in the Indy 500. I know how much the race means to him and everyone at RCR supports him. In a perfect world, he will win and make it for the start of the (Coca-Cola) 600. But we want him to enjoy everything that comes with winning that race and if he can't make it, I will do my best to give RCR and Cingular Wireless a good run.

"The biggest issue in driving Robby's car is the seat. He runs a carbon fiber seat and it is molded to his body. He must be a lot skinnier than I am, because I couldn't fit in the seat at all. So they made me a mold to go in the seat. When you run 600 miles, being comfortable in the car is one of the biggest keys to staying mentally strong.

"From a setup standpoint, I think we will be pretty close. We both like to get to the front in a hurry and don't mind a little contact, so I don't think that will be an issue. I plan on hanging out with their team guys a little and getting to know them and I will listen to Robby on the radio to see how he talks to them about changes. I think it will be a smooth transition if I need to race for him."

-rcr/ac delco-

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About this article
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Robby Gordon , Ron Hornaday Jr.
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Hendrick Motorsports