DOVER, Del. (May 14, 2011) — The No. 33 Utz Snacks Chevrolet team prevailed their way through what could have easily been an early end to an afternoon bringing home a ninth-place finish for the Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) team at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Four-time champion Ron Hornaday captured his fifth top-10 finish of the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and maintains the fourth position in the Driver’s Point standings.
Hornaday qualified in the fourth-position for the 200-lap event and jumped to the second position at the drop of the green flag. The first caution flag waved at lap eight and Hornaday reported his truck was loose going into the corners and, tight through the center but not bad on exit. The team opted to stay on track and took the lap 13 restart from the second position.
Hornaday dropped back to fourth and continued to battle for that position for the next 30 laps. The Utz Snacks Chevrolet was quickly loosing grip and fell back to 10th place.
Lap 47 was when the second caution of the event fell for an accident in turn two. The KHI team used the caution as an opportunity to make adjustments to the No. 33 truck and Hornaday brought the Chevrolet down pit road for four tires, fuel and both an air-pressure and chassis adjustments hoping to cure the loose conditions. After a quick track clean up the race went back green on lap 50 but for only five laps as the third caution flag came for another accident.
With the restart on lap 58, Hornaday noted that the adjustments were going the opposite direction to where they needed to go. The No. 33 dropped through the field as the veteran driver did his best to hang on to the truck. The caution flag at lap 74 was exactly what the team needed. With three stops down pit road, the No. 33 pit crew made further chassis adjustments as well as spring rubber adjustments.
The team was seeded in the 23rd-position when the field went green at lap 80. Shortly past the halfway mark, Hornaday was still fighting a loose-handling truck and fell a lap down to the race leader.
With a cycle green-flag pit stops at lap 125 the No. 33 team had hopes to regain their track position as the leaders took pit road. With luck on their side, the team was able to capitalize and regain lead lap status. Hornaday worked his way up to the second-position when the caution flag waved at lap 156.
With their final visit to pit road on lap 157, the team made a chassis and spring rubber adjustment and took four tires and fuel. With 40 laps to go at the green, the team quickly learned the adjustments made were not quite what the driver needed to get the truck settled into the track. Hornaday dropped back to ninth place by lap 173.
With three additional cautions in the closing laps, Hornaday held his ground and brought the No. 33 Utz Snacks Chevrolet home in the ninth-place with no damage. The top-ten finish marks Hornaday’s fifth top-10 finish in six Truck Series races this season. The team currently sits fourth in the championship standings only eight points out of the lead. The Truck Series will return to action next weekend at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway for a Friday night show down.
Comments from driver Ron Hornaday:
“I am really proud of this team and how we rallied back to bring home a ninth-place finish and a truck in one piece. This team definitely deserves a better finish than we brought home. Every team will have days like this, but for us to prevail like we did shows that we are championship contenders. I will take a ninth-place finish and will look forward to getting back at it next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.”