BUSCH: Richmond: Ron Hornaday preview

Hornaday feels recent momentum can bring another strong finish NOTES OF INTEREST: * ON A ROLL! Ron Hornaday and the No.2 ACDelco Chevrolet come into Richmond International Raceway (RIR) on a roll. The ACDelco Monte Carlo has ...

Hornaday feels recent momentum can bring another strong finish



Ron Hornaday and the No.2 ACDelco Chevrolet come into Richmond International Raceway (RIR) on a roll. The ACDelco Monte Carlo has been one of the best cars over the last three races. Hornaday finished third at Talladega Superspeedway and then followed that great run with an 11th at California Speedway and a second place finish last week at Gateway International Raceway. The strong finishes have moved Hornaday from 13th in points to seventh, just 208 points out of first.


RIR has new pavement for the first time since 1988 and that means faster speeds for the NASCAR Busch Series teams. In fact, most people in the garage expect the track record to fall, similar to how it did at Gateway International Raceway last weekend. But the faster speeds aren't the key thing to watch for this weekend according to ACDelco crew chief, Butch Hylton. "The speeds will be faster, but the important thing to watch is tire wear," said Hylton. "Nobody really knows how the combination of new tire and new pavement will play out. I am a little concerned about the high heat we might see in the tire because of the increased grip. We didn't test, but one of our RCR Cup teams did, so we have some pretty good notes to work off of."


The ACDelco transporter will unload chassis No. 036 at Richmond International Raceway. It is one of the few "drop-snout" cars in the RCR stable. The car was the second "drop" car built last year at the special request of Hornaday. After winning the race at Nazareth Speedway with "drop snout" No. 031, RCR built the second car (.036) for Hornaday. Last year at RIR, Hornaday finished seventh in this same car. Chassis .036 was also used by Hornaday to finish fourth at Memphis Motorsports Park.

ACDelco Chevrolet Driver Ron Hornaday on Richmond International Raceway

What's the key to running well at Richmond International Raceway?

"The biggest key 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 from the center, off. It works well in practice and testing, but once you start racing and you're in traffic, you do what you need to do to get the position."

What are your thoughts on the new pavement?

"I know it's going to be very fast. I didn't test there, but I heard that guys were running under the track record on 30 lap tires. I think the softer tire that Goodyear developed has made for faster speeds and the pavement just makes it faster, longer. I think the smoothness of the surface will allow for great racing and we should have two really good grooves. My only concern is the marbles that come off these softer tires. They might narrow up the groove a little."

Do you enjoy night racing?

"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!"

Last year, tempers were high at RIR. Do you expect the same this year?

"Anytime we run under the lights, it seems like everything gets exaggerated. The flames look hotter, the cars look faster and the drivers and teams get more upset when something goes wrong. I can't explain why. Maybe it's because that's what happens at your local Saturday night short track and we all have flashbacks. I think NASCAR has done a great job of keeping things from getting too out of hand. But it's tough to control 43 teams after the race. Trust me. They'll get your attention Monday morning."

You have climbed from 13th to seventh in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings in the last three races. Do you feel like you are back in the title hunt?

"I think you are never out until the season is over. This ACDelco team has been running really well all year long. We just haven't had the finishes until recently. The one thing about our team is that we have real car guys. They never quit. When you race for RCR, you are expected to battle for championships. We did that last year and finished third. This year we fell behind a little, but now we are coming on strong. If we continue to run up front, then the chance for wins increases. Once you start winning, the points take care of themselves."


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Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr.