CONCORD, N.C. (May 16, 2009)—- Ron Hornaday entered this weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race winless on the season; marking only the second time in his career he had not visited victory lane in the first five races into the season. By the end of Saturday night’s North Carolina Educational Lottery 200, the winless streak had come to an end. The day began with the No. 33 team leading both practice sessions and sitting on the provisional pole by two tenths of a second, until qualifying was cancelled due to a rain storm. During the race, the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) team narrowly missed one of the hardest crashes in truck series history, went a lap down during a pit sequence, and charged from the back of the field to go to victory lane for the first time in 2009.
“Scoring my 40th career win at home is pretty cool, I didn’t even realize we had won that many,” said Hornaday after the race. “My Longhorn Chevrolet Silverado was fast. I’ve got to thank Rick Ren (crew chief), Rick Carelli (spotter), and everyone at KHI. They’ve been working their guts out. They weren’t stopping until we had some hardware. I really appreciate all of our sponsors who make this happen week in and week out. This was cool. I’m so glad we have us a victory for this year!”
Hornaday and the No. 33 Longhorn team began the race from the third starting position. The line-up was determined by the NASCAR rule book based upon the 2009 Owners Point Standings. The top three trucks quickly raced away from the rest of the field until the first caution of the night waved at lap 25. The No. 33 team came down pit road at lap 27 for four tires, and then came back down the following lap to take on fuel. Due to varying pit strategies by the front runners, the No. 33 team restarted the race in the ninth position.
The red flag was displayed at lap 34, for a horrendous crash on the front stretch involving Mike Skinner and TJ Bell. Skinner ended up flying through the air and destroying the No. 5 truck. Following a 20-minute red flag for clean-up of the incident, the race restarted at lap 40. Hornaday continued to work his way back to the front and by lap 48 Hornaday had moved into the second position.
On lap 86, the No. 33 team made a scheduled green-flag pit stop for fuel, then one lap later the caution was thrown for a wreck amongst leaders Kyle Busch, Colin Braun and Brian Scott. The caution caught Hornaday and KHI teammate Ryan Newman one lap down to the leaders because of green-flag stops. The team brought the truck back down pit road on lap 87 to put on four fresh tires. Hornaday would restart from the tail end of the lead lap ahead of the leaders, scored in 12th place. A timely caution at lap 95 allowed Hornaday and Newman to join the rest of the pack behind the leaders. Restarting the race at lap 100 from the 11th position, Hornaday passed more than one truck per lap on his way to the top spot. Hornaday assumed the lead at lap 106, with the final caution of the night coming out on lap 109. The restart at lap 110 saw an epic battle of veteran and rising star as “the restart king” Hornaday held off Kyle Busch, who made one last attempt for the race lead. Hornaday would never look back, leading the final 24 laps on the way to his 40th career Truck Series victory.
The win marks his second at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, his first of 2009 and allowed him to take over the Truck Series points lead for the first time in 2009 by 84 markers over Skinner. Hornaday’s last win at LMS came in 2007 when he went on to win his third Truck Series championship.
May 15, 2009
Lowe’s (N.C.) Motor Speedway
Race: 6 of 25
Driver: Ron Hornaday
Truck Series Point Standings: 1st (+1)
Next on the Schedule for the No. 33:
Date: May 29, 2009
Track: Dover (Del.) International Speedway
Event Name: AAA Insurance 200
Driver: Ron Hornaday
Broadcast Time: SPEED 8:00 p.m., EST (Tape Delay) MRN 5:00 p.m., EST