BUSCH: Richmond II: Ron Hornaday preview

Ron Hornaday KISS Army invades Richmond International Raceway HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 7, 2004) - Richmond, VA., You wanted the best...you got the best! KISS makes their NASCAR Busch Series debut on the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet for...

Ron Hornaday
KISS Army invades Richmond International Raceway

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (September 7, 2004) - Richmond, VA., You wanted the best...you got the best! KISS makes their NASCAR Busch Series debut on the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet for Friday night's Richmond 250. The greatest Rock band in the world will be in attendance for the race and is a big fan of ACDelco driver Ron Hornaday. And the race team is equally fanatic about KISS.

ACDelco crew chief Butch Hylton is a card carrying member of the KISS Army, the fan club for the band. He has every album (yes, album) the band has ever released including several rare imports. "This is one of the highlights of my racing career," said Hylton. "Growing up, KISS was my band. I joined the KISS Army and bought all of the collectables, from action figures to lunch boxes. To have them on the side of our car and to meet them and see how big of racing fans they are is super cool. It's hard to put into words the excitement they have given to this race."

Hylton is not the only KISS fanatic on the team. Chief engineer Paul Flurry has been a fan of the band since his youth and says that their music hits home with his entire family. "I have a cousin that dresses up like Gene Simmons every time he goes to a big concert, no matter what band is actually playing," said Flurry. "He has the whole outfit complete with the platform boots and everything. He went to a Styx concert a while back and Tommy Shaw (Styx guitarist) saw him dressed like Gene in the front row and actually gave him a pick and held the guitar down for my cousin to play. He was the hit of the show!"

While some may say that the band seems a little edgy for the veteran Hornaday, he says don't let age fool you. "KISS and I have a lot in common," said Hornaday. "We are both labeled as aging stars, but there is nobody in rock music that gives the fans all they have for an entire concert like KISS. They put on a show that has so much energy; it blows away all these new bands. They rock just as hard on their first song as they do on their last. I like to think that I race that same way."

Points of Interest...

* RIR Track Stat...Ron Hornaday's best NBS finish at Richmond International Raceway is seventh (Spring 2004). He has one pole (1997) in the NASCAR Truck Series at the .750-mile D-shaped oval. He has completed 94% of the laps and has one DNF (2000).

* Last race at RIR....The spring race at RCR was very disappointing for the ACDelco Monte Carlo. Hornaday qualified 24th and battled a tight race car all weekend long. It was obvious that the "drop-snout" chassis the team had unloaded was the wrong car for the weekend. Despite the cars bad push, Hornaday raced his way into the top-10 in the early stages. A cut left front tire while running ninth sent the "blue deuce" to the back of the pack. Hornaday charged his way into the top-10 once again only to get caught up in a crash involving Michael Waltrip and J.J. Yeley. The "Real Car Guys" crew fixed the damage and the ACDelco Chevy came home 12th.

* 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 64 straight races. The last DNF for Hornaday was an engine failure at Kansas Speedway in 2002.

* What ya' Haulin'...The ACDelco transporter will unload chassis No. 033R at RIR. It is a brand new car that has never been raced. ACDelco crew chief Butch Hylton told Hornaday of the new car, "You wanted the best, you got the best!"

* 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 Richmond International Raceway...

You have KISS on the car this weekend. Does that add to the excitement of this race?

"Are you kidding? This is awesome. Everyone in the shop is excited for this race. KISS brings amazing energy to the stage and we hope that same energy will be in our ACDelco Chevrolet. I can assure you the fans are going to love this car and I plan on racing it as hard as KISS rocks it."

What is so special about night racing?

"Everything. It's what every driver did rising through the ranks. The night brings out the sparks and you can see flames from the fuel burn-off when we get off the gas. The fans love it and to be honest it is easier on the driver too. The conditions are cooler even on a hot night. Plus you have had all day to think about the race. So you are extra pumped up just because you have that long anticipation. I wish nearly every race was a night."

We always hear about paybacks when we get to the short tracks. Do you expect rough racing this weekend?

"You have rough racing at Richmond, whether it's nighttime or not. Short track racing is up on the wheel, in your face racing. You have to rout and gouge. You have to use the chrome horn. It's part of that style of racing. But as close as the points are, I don't think you will see any paybacks or deliberate contact among the top-10 drivers. Maybe somebody back in the points with nothing to lose may do something like that. But for the contenders, you can't afford to be playing those kind of games. I'm sure everybody has been roughed up this year at one time or another, but I think it's too late for paybacks now. It's not worth it."

ACDelco crew chief Butch Hylton on Richmond International Raceway...

What are your thoughts about racing at RIR this weekend?

"We are bringing a brand new car, so I hope we can turn things around. Our finishes lately are not an indicator of how well we have been running. Hopefully having KISS on the car will change our luck. But this is Richmond and anything can happen."

-rcr/acdelco-

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Ron Hornaday Jr. , J.J. Yeley