Ron Hornaday and the No. 33 Longhorn Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) Chevrolet team recorded a fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Nextera Energy 250 Friday evening at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
“We’ll take this,” said Hornaday. “We are 20 spots better than we were last time here. I am very happy with this Longhorn Chevrolet and this team. I appreciate all of the support Longhorn has been giving us. Mark Smith did a great job on the motor and Rick Ren (crew chief) did a good job figuring out this new pit strategy. I really want to thank Camping World, VFW, Georgia Boot and everybody who supports this team. It just takes a lot of people to make this team run as smoothly as it does. To finish in the top five at Daytona, it’s pretty awesome.”
Starting from the fourth position, Hornaday joined the lead pack single file in the early laps. The team came down pit road for the first scheduled stop on lap 33, taking four tires and pulling tape off the grill to alleviate an overheating issue. The team came back down pit road the following lap to put fuel in the truck. (For 2009 NASCAR ruled Truck Series teams could only change tires or put fuel in the truck during a pit stop, they could not do both.) Two solid stops moved Hornaday from seventh to fourth on the track.
On lap 44, Hornaday assumed the lead. The No. 33 would remain out front for eight laps, when the third caution flag of the night flew. A multi-truck accident occurred at the front of the field, narrowly missing Hornaday. The team decided to come to pit road on lap 52 for four tires and fuel the next lap.
Once back on track the competition became more intense as trucks continued to switch lanes trying to find the fastest way around the superspeedway. At lap 68, the team came down pit road for their final set of pit stops. Hornaday’s truck jumped out of gear and overshot the pit box. The team lost valuable seconds as they pushed him back into the stall to complete the stop. The following lap the team came back down pit road to pack the gas tank full of fuel, allowing them to make it to the end of the event. Hornaday would restart in the seventh position with 15 laps remaining.
As the laps wound down, Hornaday tried the high line hoping to make a rally and catch the leaders. He gained two positions, and was able to survive the 2.5-mile high banks crossing the finish line in the fifth position, recording his career-best finish at Daytona.
February 13, 2009
Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway
Race: 1 of 25
Driver: Ron Hornaday
Truck Series Point Standings: 5th
Next on the Schedule for the No. 33:
Date: February 21, 2009
Track: Auto Club Speedway
Event Name: San Bernardino 200
Driver: Ron Hornaday
Broadcast Time: Fox 3:00 p.m., EST, MRN 3:00 p.m., EST