Ron Hornaday and the No. 33 Longhorn/Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) Chevrolet team finished second in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Monday. The run marks their second top-five finish of 2009.
“The guys on this No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet team did a great job today”, said Hornaday after the race. “We got a little behind there, when [Crew Chief Rick] Ren brought me down for tires and no one else came to pit road. It all worked out in the end. Our truck rolled through the center (of the corners) better than anyone’s. I’m really proud of this team.”
Rain washed out Kroger 250 on Saturday, thus the start of the race was postponed until Monday. Hornaday and the No. 33 Longhorn team began the race from the fourth position. By lap 53 Hornaday and pole sitter Rick Crawford were fighting for the lead. At lap 78, Hornaday assumed the first position and would remain the leader for 15 circuits until the caution came out at lap 92. The No. 33 team came down pit road for their first stop of the day to take fuel only. They would run the remainder of the race on that tank of fuel. Hornaday restarted in the sixth position following the stop.
At lap 129, Hornaday came back to pit road to take on four fresh tires. However, no one else in the field came with them, miring the No. 33 deep in the field. In 40 laps the No. 33 truck was able to avoid multiple on-track incidents and work his way back up into the top 10.
As the laps wound down the No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet was a tenth of a second quicker than any truck on the track. Moving into the top five on lap 179, Hornaday set his sights on leaders Kyle Busch and KHI teammate Kevin Harvick. Hornaday was able to get to Harvick’s bumper as he battled Busch for the lead. A hard-charging Mike Skinner made the battle a foursome. Harvick was able to nudge Busch out of the way to take the lead as Hornaday worked the bottom to drive into second. Busch incurred a commitment cone violation which brought him to pit road during the last caution of the day at lap 242, leaving KHI teammates Harvick and Hornaday to race in a three-lap sprint to the finish. Hornaday laid back on the restart hoping to get a run at Harvick, but was not able to make it stick as the caution and checkers flew.
Hornaday would come home second, marking his best career finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The finish marks KHI’s first one-two of the 2009 season and moved Hornaday up one spot in the point standings to third, 71 markers behind leader Kyle Busch.
March 30, 2009 Martinsville Speedway
Race: 4 of 25
Driver: Ron Hornaday
Truck Series Point Standings: 3rd (+1)
Next on the Schedule for the No. 33:
Date: April 25, 2009
Track: Kansas Speedway
Event Name: O’Reilly Auto Parts 250
Driver: Ron Hornaday
Broadcast Time: SPEED and MRN 5:30 p.m., EST