BUSCH: Fontana II: Ron Hornaday preview

Ron Hornaday Hornaday looks for Homecoming Turnaround HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 31, 2004) - ACDelco Chevrolet driver Ron Hornaday heads home this weekend for the Target House 300 at California Speedway. The Palmdale, CA., native hopes...

Ron Hornaday
Hornaday looks for Homecoming Turnaround

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (August 31, 2004) - ACDelco Chevrolet driver Ron Hornaday heads home this weekend for the Target House 300 at California Speedway. The Palmdale, CA., native hopes to turn his recent misfortune around at the two-mile located just west of Los Angeles, CA.

After a slow start, Hornaday climbed back into the heat of the point's battle with an impressive run of top-10 finishes in June and July which included a victory at The Milwaukee Mile on June 26. But since August rolled around, Hornaday's luck has turned 180 degrees. With disappointing finishes in the last three races, Hornaday has fallen to seventh in points. But the two-time NASCAR Truck Series champion thinks his NASCAR Busch Series luck can change this weekend at California Speedway. "I am very excited to return home this weekend and race at California Speedway," said Hornaday. "I just wish we had the chance to run under the lights like the NEXTEL Cup Series will."

Since the checkered flag waved at Michigan International Speedway two weeks ago, Hornaday and his Richard Childress Racing owned team have been working hard to prepare for the race in California. "The car didn't handle the way it needed to at Michigan," said Hornaday. "We missed it quite a bit and because the handling wasn't there, we thought the motor had been poor as well. When NASCAR put our car on the chassis dyno, we saw that we had as much power as anybody. That really got us thinking we need to take a different approach at California."

ACDelco crew chief Butch Hylton went to work re-thinking the setup for this weekend's race and feels like they have found what they need to turn their luck around. "Although this is the same chassis we had at Michigan, it really is a completely different car," said Hylton. "We changed just about everything on it and I really think we will run much better. In the spring race, we were one of the fastest cars right off the truck. I really thought we would get the pole, but we free'd it up too much. In the race, the car just didn't handle in traffic. We fixed all of that, so I'm very excited to unload the ACDelco Monte Carlo at California Speedway."

Points of Interest...

* California Speedway Track Stat...Ron Hornaday's best finish at California Speedway is third in the 1997 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event. Hornaday has just one top-10 finish (2003 - 10th) in five NASCAR Busch Series starts.

* Last race at California Speedway...After practicing third fastest, Hornaday qualified 23rd in the spring race after getting completely sideways in turn one going for the pole. During the race, the ACDelco Chevrolet battled a loose condition. In the end, Hornaday was forced to pit road for fuel with 10 laps to go. He tried to make his way into the top-10, but came up one spot short, finishing 11th.

* You have to first finish...At Bristol Motor 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 63 straight races. The last DNF for Hornaday was an engine failure at Kansas Speedway last year.

* What ya' Haulin'...The ACDelco transporter will unload chassis No. 019 at California Speedway. It was last raced at Michigan International Speedway, where Hornaday finished 18th. After the race, NASCAR randomly picked the car for the chassis dyno. ACDelco crew chief Butch Hylton says that the numbers they received from the dyno has helped them make changes to the car for California.

* 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.

No. 2 ACDelco driver Ron Hornaday on California Speedway...

Are you excited to return to your home state of California?

"Of course. I love going back and seeing all my family and fans. We have a lot of fun things planned, so I can't wait to get back and see everyone. There isn't a whole lot of time outside the track to see our friends, so I guess I'll have to bring them to see us."

Can racing in front of the home town crowd be a distraction?

"I think it's like home field advantage in other sports. It feels awesome to hear the cheers and see so many of your friends. My family realizes that I'm out there for work, so they are really cool about just hanging out all day and then hooking up after the garage closes. We usually have a group of 20 or so at the motorhome and we cook out. It's really a great time."

The team has struggled over the last few weeks. What is the mood like at the shop?

"I think everyone is staying focused on taking each race, one at a time. We had a great stretch and now we are having a difficult stretch. That's all part of racing. There are very few years when everything goes your way. That's why when you have a year like that, you treasure it. Winning at this level is not easy. The competition is so tight. But we try not to get too high or too low. There are still 10 races left and that means 10 possible wins. We are focused on the goal of winning races."


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr.
Teams Richard Childress Racing