Chase For The Busch Series Championship? Busch Series veteran Ron Hornaday says it won't work HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 14, 2004) - With all the excitement the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Chase for the Championship has created, many ...
Chase For The Busch Series Championship?
Busch Series veteran Ron Hornaday says it won't work
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 14, 2004) - With all the excitement the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Chase for the Championship has created, many in the NASCAR Busch Series garage feel the new points system would be perfect for their series as well. But ACDelco Chevrolet driver Ron Hornaday thinks that the current system works fine and that the infusion of Cup regulars into the Busch Series events, make the "chase" system unrealistic.
"When you have 15 or more NEXTEL Cup regulars entered in a Busch Series race, in most cases, half those guys will finish in the top-15," said Hornaday. "There have been races where the fifth best Busch Series regular has finished 15th, because of all the Cup drivers. That messes up the points and creates the big gaps in our championship standings. I enjoy racing those guys, because when you beat them, you know you have won against the best. But their entry into our series, rules out the chase for the championship points system."
Hornaday may have a point. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series had 15 drivers vying for a spot in the "Chase" at Richmond International Raceway last Saturday night. Ryan Newman captured the 10th and final spot, 416 points behind leader Jeff Gordon. In comparison, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series saw Mike Skinner in 10th position just 403 points out at the 10 races to go mark. But the story is completely different in the NASCAR Busch Series. With 10 races to go, following the race at Bristol Motor Speedway (August 27), third place points driver Jason Leffler trailed leader Martin Truex, Jr. by 432 points. If that seems like a big gap, check out 10th place Ashton Lewis, Jr. He sat 961 points out of first.
The new NASCAR "playoff" system has proven to energize the final stretch in what has been a long, eight month season to date. But Hornaday says that's not how he grew up racing. "When my dad (Ron Hornaday, Sr.) raced the old NASCAR West Series it was about winning races and limiting your mistakes if you wanted the championship," said Hornaday. "I have always felt that winning races is the most important thing you can do in a season. When you are 700 points out with 10 races to go; you haven't won races and you don't deserve to race for the championship."
No. 2 ACDelco driver Ron Hornaday on the NEXTEL Cup Series points system...
There has been talk about the NASCAR Busch Series adopting a chase for the championship like the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. What is your opinion on that system?
"I would love it this year, because we could get back into this championship. But, I don't think it can work in our series. The NEXTEL Cup Series has such tight competition year after year, that you will usually have 10 drivers around that 400 point mark. But in the Busch Series, we have too big a gap once you get past fifth place or so. I don't think it would be fair for a driver who is 700 points out to have a shot at the championship."
"What we have in the Busch Series works. Last year, we had the closest championship battle ever with five teams having a shot during the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This year it's a two-car race. But as much as I would love to be reset and have a shot at the title, I'm not sure we would deserve to be there. I'm 718 points out (after Richmond). Our third place contender (Jason Leffler) is over 400 points out. It just doesn't work in our series."