Ron Hornaday and the No.3 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. owned NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Monte Carlo make their debut at Dover Downs International Speedway this weekend in the MBNA Platinum 200. Thanks to a 12th place finish at Charlotte last ...
Ron Hornaday and the No.3 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. owned NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet Monte Carlo make their debut at Dover Downs International Speedway this weekend in the MBNA Platinum 200. Thanks to a 12th place finish at Charlotte last Saturday, Hornaday moved into fourth place in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, passing Randy LaJoie. Hornaday only trails leader Jeff Green by 375 points with 19 races left to go. "A lot can still happen in the points battle. I know Green and Bodine feel pretty comfortable, but there is a lot of racing left to be done this season," said Hornaday. "We are very confident that we can catch them. Our best racing is yet to come!"
The NAPA team tested for the first time at Dover Downs two weeks ago, and the results of that test have the team very excited for the coming race. Hornaday was clocked several times at 23.000, nearly two-tenths under the track record of 23.182, set by Matt Kenseth in the fall of 1999. According to NAPA crew chief Gere Kennon, the car responded to everything they threw at it. "This is the most balanced car we've had all year," said Kennon. "The car was so good that we tried unusual things, and it responded just the way it should. I really think we are going to be the car to beat at Dover."
Although this will be Hornaday's first race at the "Monster Mile", Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has had very good BGN success in the past at Dover. In fact, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the last two spring races at Dover. Hornaday and the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet team feel very good about the No.3 getting the three-peat.
Despite his two NASCAR Truck Series Championships (1996 & 98) and his series record 25 career wins, Hornaday is a rookie in the NASCAR Busch Series, which has been a bit of a stretch at some of the venues the series has raced at. However at Dover, Hornaday is indeed a rookie. But this rookie wasn't intimidated by the lightening-fast "Monster Mile". "I took him around the track twice in the pace car and told him where to get off the gas and where to get back in the throttle," said Kennon. "Then while he strapped in the first time, I reminded him on the radio to take it easy for a few laps and get a feel for the place. He started the car and jumped in the gas and tore off pit lane, racing up through the gears. I was standing on the top of the hauler with Steve Hmiel when he drove into turn one the first time, and he was haulin'. I looked at Steve and thought, I hope he makes it out the other end, because he barely lifted. But there he went racing into turn three, again he barely got out of the gas, and came across the start/finish line in 23.400 seconds. I couldn't believe it. If there hadn't been a railing around the top of the transporter, I would have fell off! This guy just has no fear at all."
"Dover is just like a big Bristol to me and I like it. This is the type of track I love. It has big banking and a driver makes a huge difference here. It is definitely a track that you have to respect, but you can't be timid. If you get timid here, you either get wrecked or lapped in a hurry."
" The car I tested here is by far the best car I have driven this year. I can't wait to strap in and race this weekend. This place is cool! I think you are going to see the NAPA Chevrolet up front all day long."
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