Points battle With an 11th place finish at Darlington Raceway, ACDelco Chevrolet driver Ron Hornaday has closed the gap in the NASCAR Busch Series championship race. Hornaday, a two-time NASCAR Southwest Tour (1992, '93) and NASCAR Truck Series...
With an 11th place finish at Darlington Raceway, ACDelco Chevrolet driver Ron Hornaday has closed the gap in the NASCAR Busch Series championship race. Hornaday, a two-time NASCAR Southwest Tour (1992, '93) and NASCAR Truck Series Champion ('96, '98), is in fifth place, just 79 points out of first position. In fact, the 79 points separating the top-five make it the closest NBS points battle with 9 races to go in the history of the series.
Spring race recap
Back in May, Hornaday had a good run at RIR turn into a disappointing finish. Hornaday qualified fifth and ran in the top-five for most of the night. Hornaday was running in the eighth position with just four laps to go, when Shane Hmiel got into him, sending the ACDelco Chevy into the inside wall off turn two. Despite a badly damaged car, Hornaday managed to finish the race in 15th.
The ACDelco Chevrolet will have a new look on Friday night at RIR. Java Records recording artist Frankie Perez will adorn the hood of the No. 2 Monte Carlo. Perez, whose hit song "Something Crazy" has been climbing the charts, will also sing the National Anthem at RIR on Friday. The ACDelco Chevy will shed its traditional colors for a silver and blue scheme, with red flames. Hornaday is the only NBS driver with a special Chevrolet/ Warner Bros. Rock & Roll paint scheme to commemorate the Chevy Rock & Roll 400.
What ya haulin?
The ACDelco transporter will unload chassis No. 36 at RIR. The car is the newest drop snout car in the RCR stable. Marty Lindley raced the car at IRP and finished 15th. Hornaday raced a standard chassis car at RIR back in May.
Ron Hornaday comments on Richmond International Raceway
The point's battle in the NASCAR Busch Series is the tightest battle in series history. It seems like it is totally up for grabs. What are your thoughts on the battle?
"It's awesome right now. Each week it changes. We were kind of laughing last week after Darlington because we picked up 18 points on the leader, yet we fell from third to fifth in the standings. That is just how close the point's race is. I think this is going to come right down to Homestead. And I think we have a great shot at winning the title."
It seems like most of the attention in the point's battle has gone to the "young guns." Does that bother you, being a veteran driver?
"No it doesn't bother me. You see the same thing in NASCAR Winston Cup. I realize that out of all the drivers in this battle, my story is the least interesting. You have the young guys that have never won a NASCAR championship and that makes for great reading. You have David Green who won the title back in 1994 and has had a dry spell. Plus it's the best that (Brewco Motorsports) has been in points. Keller has been so close and never won, so you have that angle. I was hired to come in and try to win the championship. I won two NASCAR Truck Series championships. RCR won the Busch title two years ago with Harvick. ACDelco has won three out of the last five Busch Championships. So I think people expected us to be up front and so it really isn't big news."
You had a stretch where you qualified in the top-10 in 13 out of 15 races. Over the last four races, your best start has been 12th (Michigan). How important is starting up front to your championship chances and what do you do to turn it around?
"We have really concentrated on our race setup lately. The saying goes- its not where you start, it's where you finish. I think we have really worked hard at making sure the car races well. I don't know if starting better would have translated into better finishes or not. I'm not that concerned with it right now. We have had better cars than where we started, but I don't think it is an issue."
What are your thoughts on racing under the lights at Richmond International Raceway?
"I love night racing. I'd say every driver prefers to race at night, because that is what we grew up doing. It just looks so much different and it really adds something for the fans. The flames and sparks are very visible. My favorite part is on the pace laps when the flash bulbs are going off. From where I'm at in the car, it's an awesome sight!"
"The biggest key at Richmond is getting off the corners. In the past, I think I have driven the corners too deep. When you do that, you have to get hard on the brakes to get the car to set and it hurts you getting off. I have since tried to get in easy, so I can use all of the RCR motor off. It worked well in the spring race and hopefully we can be even better this time around."
You have Frankie Perez on the hood of your car. What do you think of the concept of Rock & Roll and NASCAR teaming up this weekend?
"I think it is a natural tie-in. This weekend you will see all the smoke, noise and the loud roar of the crowd...and that's just the concert! I think it is really cool to be part of this Chevrolet program and I hope we can put Frankie Perez in victory lane and at the top of the charts."
Ron Hornaday and the ACDelco Chevrolet Monte Carlo are fifth in the NASCAR Busch Series point's standings. Hornaday is 79 points out of first place.