CONCORD, N.C. (May 21, 2011) — The No. 33 Utz Snacks Chevrolet team fought their way through the caution-filled N.C. Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Friday night to capture the Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) team’s fifth top-five finish of the season. Four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday drove hard through the field throughout the event to a finish that moves the team to third in the series championship standings, only three points out of the lead.
The No. 33 Utz Snacks Chevrolet Silverado qualified in the 15th position for the 134-lap event, and as the green flag dropped, Hornaday worked to move into the top 10. By the first caution on lap 8, he reported the truck was a little snug but felt no changes were necessary as it was early in the night.
When the field resumed green-flag racing, Hornaday was able to pick up five positions before he, unfortunately, caused the yellow to wave again on lap 21. Hornaday spun on the backstretch but kept the truck from making contact with the wall or other drivers. While no damage was sustained from the spin, Hornaday had to make the trip to pit road for four fresh tires as all four were flat as a result of the incident. Before the field went back green on lap 24, Hornaday brought the No. 33 Utz Snacks Chevrolet down pit road one additional time to top off on fuel.
Sitting in the 30th position, Hornaday was determined to race back to the front of the field. By the fourth caution period of the night on lap 53, Hornaday had placed himself in the top 10. With track position in mind, the team opted for a chassis adjustment and fuel on a pit stop during the caution. With the KHI team’s quick work on pit road, Hornaday gained further track position and brought the field to green on lap 58 as the leader.
The caution flag waved for the fifth time on lap 62 and Hornaday communicated to his KHI crew that his No. 33 Chevrolet was loose going into the corners but tight off the turns. Staying out to maintain track position, Hornaday restarted at lap 67 as the leader, but slid back to the fourth position as the sixth yellow of the race came on lap 70.
Not long after the field returned to green, the yellow lights flashed yet again. A multi-truck accident brought the caution flag out for the seventh time and crew chief Jeff Hensley opted to bring the No. 33 Chevrolet down pit road for four tires and fuel. The field went back to green on lap 81 with Hornaday in the 12th position.
Hornaday got off to a great restart and quickly moved up to the fifth position by lap 83. For the eighth time, the caution flag waved on lap 85. NASCAR was able to quickly clear the track and send the field back to green-flag racing on lap 88 with the Utz Snacks Chevrolet in the fourth position. On the restart, Hornaday moved into position to fight for the lead with KHI teammate Clint Bowyer and raced in the second position until the ninth caution flag of the night on lap 97.
With 34 laps remaining, the field resumed on-track action. The final caution flag came on lap 108 for an accident in turn four. The No. 33 team made the decision to stay on track which placed Hornaday in the fourth position on the restart. With Kyle Busch picking up the victory, Hornaday brought the Utz Snacks Chevrolet home in fifth place. The top-five finish allowed Hornaday to gain five points and moved the driver up one position to third in the championship point standings.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to action at Kansas Speedway on June 4 for the series’ 400th race. Watch the action live on SPEED at 1 p.m. CT.
Comments from driver Ron Hornaday:
“This No. 33 Truck team has done an amazing job. I am so proud to be part of this team and this organization. I am happy with this top-five finish. This is what we need to keep ourselves in contention. We are picking away week by week and sooner or later it will be our turn. We had a great points night and are only sitting three points out of the lead. It was great to have Utz Snacks here with us this week and we hope we put on a great show for them.”