Ron Hornaday looking to lead the class in Drafting 101 (Daytona Beach, Fl.) - When you think about racing at Daytona International Speedway many things come to mind. But to the drivers the biggest factor is the draft. For the 2004 season,...
Ron Hornaday looking to lead the class in Drafting 101
(Daytona Beach, Fl.) - When you think about racing at Daytona International Speedway many things come to mind. But to the drivers the biggest factor is the draft. For the 2004 season, NASCAR added a roof deflector and a wicker on the rear spoiler in an attempt to create a large air wake to increase the ability for a trailing car to draft up and "slingshot" past the car in front. The additions led to excellent big pack racing at DIS in February and Talladega Superspeedway in April. But what the new package highlighted was the importance of having a drafting partner. In the two restrictor plate races this year, the two Richard Childress Racing Monte Carlo's have found themselves without help in the final stages of the race. A fact they hope to change. "We have been one of the fastest cars at both Daytona and Talladega," said ACDelco driver Ron Hornaday. "We just haven't had any help at the end to get a win. I know that Kevin Harvick and I are really going to work at trying to stay together to ensure that RCR gets a win this weekend."
NOTES OF INTEREST:
* REPEAT AFTER ME
Ron Hornaday will attempt to be the first NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) driver to win back-to-back races during the 2004 season when he starts the Winn-Dixie 250. Hornaday impressed the racing world at The Milwaukee Mile last weekend, by staging a cautious yet aggressive comeback from one lap down to win the Alan Kulwicki 250. While the younger drivers abused their tires, the veteran ACDelco Chevy driver saved his equipment and charged into the lead with just seven laps to go. The win was Hornaday's first of 2004 and his fourth of his NBS career.
* WHAT YA' HAULIN'?
The ACDelco transporter will unload chassis No. 031 at Daytona International Speedway. The car was built in the off-season and is the newest addition to the ACDelco fleet. Hornaday is coming off four straight top-10 finishes on the "plate tracks." Last April at Talladega, Hornaday led the field in the ACDelco Chevrolet on many occasions and looked like he had a shot at the win. But without an RCR teammate to help him, Hornaday got passed by the DEI armada of Martin Truex, Jr. and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and finished third. In February, Hornaday started second and finished seventh at Daytona International Speedway in chassis No. 031.
** Ron Hornaday has four career NASCAR Busch Series wins. Those wins were at Nazareth (2000, 2003), Indianapolis Raceway Park (2000) and The Milwaukee Mile (2004). He has one career Busch pole- Lowe's Motor Speedway (2002).
ACDelco Driver Ron Hornaday on Daytona International Speedway
You have been in the lead pack with a chance to win in both restrictor plate races in 2004. How frustrating has it been to have one of the fastest cars, yet not go to victory lane?
"It has been disappointing to not get a win, because we have had really good shots at victory. We have led laps late in the race, but we just haven't been able to get hooked-up with the No. 21 (RCR Reese's Chevrolet) and use the teamwork to get the win. But, we have stayed clear of the big wreck and had two good finishes. Sometimes at Daytona, a top-five feels like a win."
But how do you get hooked-up with your teammate? Why hasn't it happened?
"You get hooked-up early in the race and you just have to be patient. Sometimes it seems like your teammate may be holding you up so you leave them for with somebody else. For short time, it looks like a great decision. But in the end, it doesn't work out. If you look at the cars that have won at Daytona in the past, they have stayed with their teammate and at least one other car. They have dropped back in the pack and then raced back to the front. If you can stay hooked-up, there is no way, even with this drafting package to pass the leader on the last lap. Patience is the real key to winning.
I think we were still learning our new teams back in February. It was my first race with Butch Hylton and his guys and we didn't have the communication for adjustments that we have now. My car got too loose late in the race and I just couldn't get to Harvick in time to help him try to win. At Talladega, we ran really well and got help from a lot of other cars out there, who knew we were fast. But it was Clint Bowyers first 'plate' race and he just got shuffled back late in the race and couldn't help us. I think everyone on both teams learned a ton at Talladega and I think that new knowledge will help us on Friday night."
How satisfying was the win at The Milwaukee Mile last weekend?
"It was incredible. This ACDelco team has really been putting good cars under me and we finally put it all together. The guys are still excited and you just can't imagine how much it brings a team together. I think everyone on this team knew we were getting close to cashing in. But it's awesome when you finally get to the pay window!"