HORNADAY QUALIFIES 34TH AT TEXAS DESPITE PART FAILURE; QUALIFYING RULES FORCE TEAM TO PACK IT IN EARLY FORT WORTH, Texas (Friday, Nov. 4, 2005) -- A broken suspension piece in the right-front end of the ...
HORNADAY QUALIFIES 34TH AT TEXAS DESPITE PART FAILURE; QUALIFYING RULES FORCE TEAM TO PACK IT IN EARLY
FORT WORTH, Texas (Friday, Nov. 4, 2005) -- A broken suspension piece in the right-front end of the #30 Smith & Wesson Racing Chevrolet of SKI Motorsports couldn't keep Ron Hornaday from posting the 34th-fastest qualifying time among 54 car-and-driver combinations attempting to make Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series O'Reilly Challenge on the Texas Motor Speedway mile-and-a-half high-banked tri-oval.
But NASCAR's new qualifying format for 2005 guarantees the top 30 spots on the 43-car starting grid to the highest-ranking teams in the latest owners points standings, where the part-time, first-year Smith & Wesson team ranked 57th after entering just six of the previous 32 Busch series events to date. Thus, the veteran Hornaday needed to outqualify 12 of the 24 teams that had to make Saturday's 43-car starting grid based on time, which would have been easily within his grasp with a healthy race car. But the broken right-front suspension piece made the difference between making the show, which featured no less than 14 full-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competitors, and going home. Hornaday's fast lap of 185.790 mph (29.065 seconds) with a broken race car was able to beat only nine of those "go-or-go-home" teams. And the Smith & Wesson team had to call it a weekend earlier than it had hoped, despite clocking a faster lap than 12 teams that will start Saturday afternoon's race.
One race remains on the schedule during this inaugural season for Hornaday and the #30 Smith & Wesson Chevrolet team -- next weekend on the mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway. For the first time this season, the Smith & Wesson Racing machine featured a dazzling black-and-white paint scheme honoring America's law enforcement heroes
"It's never easy to find the silver lining when you have to go home early, but there's not a whole lot you can do when something gives way in the right front of your race car. We were fast when we rolled off the truck this morning, which is a tribute to (new crew chief) Bob Schacht and his operation. But we developed the problem in the right-front at the very end of practice this morning. We discovered it right away and went to work on fixing the problem, but we didn't have any more practice time to see where we were. The first time around the track (during qualifying), the Smith & Wesson Chevrolet felt better than it had all day. But on the second lap, we really hit bottom. So as hard as I worked to stay on the gas, it just wasn't meant to be. It's a shame, but we'll be back next week at Phoenix to try and finish our first season on a high note."
CHRIS LENCHESKI (Team Owner)
"A part failure is a part failure. It's about the most frustrating thing in this oftentimes frustrating business, but that's racing. You have to find it, fix it and move on. We made repairs after the morning practice, but then we never had to chance to run the car to see where we were for qualifying. We're going home early, but that should not take away from the tremendous challenges we stand up to every time we show up at the racetrack. Being a part-time team at this point, we have to work exponentially harder and under much more stressful circumstances just to try and make the show. But that's what the men and women of Smith & Wesson stand for -- they will never back down from a challenge. That's how they built one of the strongest brands in America over the last century and a half. The races we have chosen to compete in this season have been the biggest ones in terms of entries and the quality of those entries. If you want to be the best, you have to succeed against the best. Tonight, even though he knew he had a broken race car, Ron stayed on the gas and gave it his all. That's the spirit of this Smith & Wesson effort and it's all you can ever ask for."