BUSCH: Kansas: Ron Hornaday race notes

Kansas Top-Five for Hornaday (Kansas City, Kan.) - Ron Hornaday and the ACDelco Chevrolet attacked Kansas Speedway and came away with a fifth place finish in the Mr. Goodcents 300. It was Hornaday's sixth top-five of the season and...

Kansas Top-Five for Hornaday

(Kansas City, Kan.) - Ron Hornaday and the ACDelco Chevrolet attacked Kansas Speedway and came away with a fifth place finish in the Mr. Goodcents 300. It was Hornaday's sixth top-five of the season and moved him into fifth place in the NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) point's standings.

It was a strong showing for the ACDelco Monte Carlo from the minute the car was unloaded. Hornaday was the fastest car for all of the morning's race practice. It wasn't until the field switched over to qualifying trim that Hornaday fell from the top spot. "We didn't make as many runs as some of the other cars did," said Hornaday. "I think they are fooling themselves a little because the weather is going to change."

The weather did change for qualifying. After morning practice was held under cool and cloudy conditions, the sun burned off the morning haze and the skies brightened for qualifying. That meant a warmer track surface and a loose race track. Hornaday put down the sixth fastest lap of the day, noting that the weather change cost them the pole. "We knew the weather was going to change," said Hornaday. "The first ten or so cars had a cloud cover and that was the difference. Our car was awesome out there. Had it been cloudy, we would have been on the pole."

Expectations were high for the ACDelco Chevy on Saturday. Hornaday backed up his fast qualifying run by being just as fast in happy hour practice. Everyone on the team, including Hornaday, felt like they had one of the cars to beat.

The green flag waved to start the race and Hornaday raced right to the front. He was fourth after lap one and was aggressively charging after Martin Truex, Jr. for third. As the two raced into turn one, Truex washed up the track and Hornaday dove to the inside. Truex felt he could force his way back in line and came down the track. He made contact with Hornaday's right front fender and the contact sent both cars spinning. Truex hit the wall, damaging the left rear of his Monte Carlo. Hornaday saved the car and despite four flat tires, was able to continue. After the pit stop, he restarted 42nd.

It was time for Hornaday to work his way back to the front. He battled an "aero tight" condition in traffic, but moved quickly through the pack. On lap 53, Hornaday broke into the top-20. As the leaders made pit stops, Hornaday stayed out and picked up five bonus points for leading the race.

On lap 70, Hornaday made his pit stop. The team changed all four tires and put a rubber in the left rear to help the car in traffic. When scoring cycled through all the stops, Hornaday was 21st, one lap down. After cautions on lap 75 and lap 80, Hornaday claimed the "lucky dog" position and was placed back on the lead lap in 15th.

Hornaday continued to charge to the front during the middle stages of the race. At the halfway point of the 200-lap event, Hornaday was eighth and running the fastest laps of anyone in the top-10. On lap 101, David Green blew an engine, bringing out the yellow flag. The ACDelco Chevy was now in fourth and a factor for the win.

The race for the win looked like it was going to be a battle between three cars. Tony Stewart led nearly the entire event and Greg Biffle followed him in second. But Hornaday was now knocking on the door in third. On lap 145, Hornaday came down pit road for tires and fuel to get him to the finish. The "Real Car Guy's" crew blistered off a great stop and when the "blue deuce" left pit road and returned to action, Hornaday was second.

The ACDelco Monto Carlo chased down Stewart's Bass Pro Shop's Chevy. Hornaday closed on the back bumper of Stewart, but couldn't seem to get by. Hornaday tried the high line, but hit some oil and scraped the wall off turn two. The contact with the wall created a bad vibration in the right rear of the car. The yellow waved for the oil just one lap later.

Due to the bad vibration, Hornaday hit pit road and changed tires for the final 20-lap sprint to the finish. He restarted eighth, but couldn't find the magic from earlier in the race. The contact with the wall had thrown off the balance of the car.

The race for the win came down to Stewart, Joe Nemechek, and Biffle. Nemechek got into the back of Stewart coming off turn two and Stewart hit the wall ending his day. The yellow flag set up a green-white-checkered finish. Nemechek held off Biffle and took the win. Hornaday finished fifth. "We had the best car out there," said Hornaday. "I think something broke when I got into the wall, because the car wasn't very good after that."

The strong finish moved Hornaday into fifth place in points. Jason Leffler, who sits in fourth, was released from his duties in the Haas Chevy. Hornaday should move into fourth when he starts next Friday nights race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C.


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Drivers Tony Stewart , Joe Nemechek , Greg Biffle , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Martin Truex Jr.