BUSCH: Nazareth: Ron Hornaday preview

Hornaday Looking For Third NBS Nazareth Win in Fourth Attempt Defending champion tested fastest in the Lehigh Valley NOTES OF INTEREST: * DEFENDING CHAMPION Ron Hornaday and the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet return to Nazareth...

Hornaday Looking For Third NBS Nazareth Win in Fourth Attempt
Defending champion tested fastest in the Lehigh Valley



Ron Hornaday and the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet return to Nazareth Speedway as the defending champions of the Goulds Pumps ITT Industries 200. Hornaday dominated the race en route to his only win in 2003. Hornaday also won the NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) event in 2000. Add his win in the NASCAR Truck Series in 1998 and Hornaday has a winning percentage of 42.8 percent. And to take the numbers even further, Hornaday has an average finish of 1.6 at Nazareth Speedway.


It is widely known that Hornaday loves a "drop-snout" chassis when racing at Nazareth Speedway. In fact, all of Hornaday's victories (1998, 2000, and 2003) at Nazareth were at the wheel of a drop chassis. Two weeks ago, the ACDelco team tested their "drop-snout" at Nazareth and were the fastest of all the cars that tested at the one-mile facility. However, after fighting the "drop" car at Richmond International Raceway last weekend, ACDelco crew chief Butch Hylton has decided to bring a standard car to Nazareth. "We just don't have the knowledge of the drop cars like some other teams may," said Hylton. "We really struggled with that car at Richmond and I don't want to ever have that feeling again. Richard (Childress) and I talked about it with Ron and decided our standard car was the way to go this weekend."


The ACDelco transporter will unload chassis No. 029 at Nazareth Speedway. It is the same "downforce" car that Hornaday drove to a second place finish at Gateway International Raceway just two weeks ago. The car also competed at Nashville Superspeedway in April.

ACDelco Chevrolet Driver Ron Hornaday on Nazareth Speedway

You have been so successful at Nazareth Speedway in the past. What's the key to running well at Nazareth Speedway?

"You just have to have a good setup under the car that is good everywhere. The track is so unique and every corner is different. It is impossible to be perfect in every corner. A lot of people think you need to have a car that's great in turn one, but then you give up elsewhere. The car needs to be right on the bottom and you must have good forward grip off the corners. The rest is just knowing the track and hitting your marks. If you are hooked up, the track is three turns. If you car isn't handling, its seven turns and a real handful."

You have won three times at Nazareth, once in the truck and twice in the Busch car. When you look at the schedule, is this the best chance to get a win?

"The NASCAR Busch Series is so tough right now that I don't think you can pencil in a win anywhere. I really enjoy racing at Nazareth Speedway. It is probably one of my best tracks. But it is a very demanding track and things can go wrong in a heartbeat.

"We are bringing a standard car to this track for the first time, so hopefully some of the things we have learned will transfer. We were good at Gateway, but it still needed just a little something. The guys went back to work on it and hopefully this car now has that something. I think it will handle a lot better than two week ago, so I am very excited about this race."

You dropped from seventh in points to ninth last weekend.  Last year, you
were sixth coming into this event.  How has this year been different?

"I think we have been better this year at every track we have unloaded at. We just haven't had the finishes. Last year, we did a lot of pit strategy to get good finishes. This year, we have been too good to risk that. Actually, when you look at the stats, we are finishing about the same as last year. But I know that a lot can happen. We are only 12 races in, so if we can keep momentum up, we can make another run at the championship. This team has been really good lately, so I think we still are a factor."

This is the last NASCAR race at Nazareth Speedway. Do you have any memorable moments from racing in the Lehigh Valley?

"I remember running a truck here and the fog was so bad, you couldn't see the truck in front of you. That was pretty crazy! We have had our ups and downs at Nazareth. I wrecked three trucks that should have won the race. I should probably have five or six wins here, but I got greedy and stuck my nose where it didn't belong.

"This is a fun racetrack and I hate that it won't be around next year. This track drives like a road course, so they really didn't have to take it off the schedule, but if we are going to Watkins Glen, I'm cool with that as well. I love to race the road courses, so I can't complain. I'm going to miss Nazareth Speedway a bunch. I hope we can put together one more win. If not, I may have to come back in an Indy car!"


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Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr.