BUSCH: Chicagoland: Ron Hornaday preview

Ron Hornaday looks to continue his championship charge at Chicagoland Speedway (Joliet, Ill.) - ACDelco Chevrolet driver Ron Hornaday comes into Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway as one of the hottest drivers of the summer. Hornaday has put...

Ron Hornaday looks to continue his championship charge at Chicagoland Speedway

(Joliet, Ill.) - ACDelco Chevrolet driver Ron Hornaday comes into Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway as one of the hottest drivers of the summer. Hornaday has put together a string of four straight top-10 finishes since being wrecked at Dover International Speedway on June 5th. In fact, Hornaday has moved from 10th in NASCAR Busch Series points after the Dover race to fourth coming into Chicagoland. There is no reason to expect a fall off anytime soon. Last year, like his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series teammate Kevin Harvick, Hornaday lit up the summertime. With seven top-10 finishes in 10 races during July, August and September in 2003, the ACDelco Chevy climbed into the heat of the NASCAR Busch Series championship chase.

Coming into Chicagoland, the Midwest has already been a hot-spot for the two-time NASCAR Truck Series champion. Hornaday won the Alan Kulwicki 250 just up the lake in Milwaukee, Wisc., on June 26th.



After NASCAR took away 25 drivers points from Hornaday at Dover, the ACDelco Chevy driver has been on a roll. Hornaday has scored the second most points (643) of anybody over the last four races and jumped from 10th in the championship standings to fourth. Only Mike Bliss has scored more with 645 points over the same four race stretch.


Last week, Hornaday unveiled his ACDelco KISS Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the media at Richmond International Raceway. The special paint scheme will be run in the Funai 250 during the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 weekend in September at RIR. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were at the press conference with Hornaday and extended him an invitation to see the band in concert at the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park on Friday night. Hornaday says despite the band's 10 p.m. start time, he and his team will try to stay for at least half of the show.


Chicagoland Speedway has been a track of "firsts" for the ACDelco Chevrolet. In 2002, Johnny Sauter scored his first career NASCAR Busch Series win at the track in the "blue deuce". The No. 2 ACDelco Monte Carlo's associate sponsor GM Goodwrench, won the first two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at the track in 2001 and 2002 with Kevin Harvick.


The ACDelco transporter will unload chassis No.019. It is the first time that Hornaday has driven this car in 2004. Chassis No.019 has been to victory lane. Last year Kevin Harvick piloted the then No. 21 PayDay colored Chevy to winner's circle at Michigan International Speedway. The car has the latest RCR body on it and crew chief Butch Hylton expects great things from the car.

ACDelco Driver Ron Hornaday on Chicagoland Speedway

Chicagoland Speedway has been a track of firsts for the ACDelco Chevrolet. How do like your chances at getting your first win at the track this weekend?

"I think we have a great shot at the win. I really like this track. I qualified great in A.J. Foyt's (NEXTEL) Cup car back in 2001, but we had a problem and finished 40th. I have always liked this track. It is very fast. You really drive the car through the corners here as opposed to letting the car roll. Butch (Hylton, crew chief) and this whole team have come together lately. I think we can win at every track we go to."

Do you feel like you still have a realistic chance at the NASCAR Busch Series title?

"I think if we can continue to race the way we have over the last four or five races, then we will have a shot to compete for the title. We fell behind early and it's so hard to make big comebacks in this series as tight as the competition is. We just want to win races at this point. We haven't been worrying about the championship. Now people are starting to mention it. But this ACDelco team is very focused and we aren't about to change what we have been doing over the last few races. We are racing for wins. If the points fall in line, we will worry about that at Homestead (Fla.).

Are you really going to the KISS concert on Friday night?

"I will be there. I can't wait to see Gene (Simmons) and Paul (Stanley) in the makeup. I have never seen them in concert so this will be a really cool deal. You won't believe how big of NASCAR fans that they are. At the press conference, I wanted to talk about the music and they wanted to talk racing. They are super cool and they really know the sport. POISON is the opening band and they sponsored Derrick Cope in the NEXTEL Cup Series a couple times, so I know they are big NASCAR fans as well. It will be a late night, but this is the biggest concert tour of the year. I have to see it!"

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Drivers Derrike Cope , Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Johnny Sauter , Mike Bliss , A.J. Foyt , Alan Kulwicki