Ron Hornaday and the No. 33 Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)/Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) Chevrolet team recorded a seventh-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) American Commercial Lines 200 Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, moving the team up one position in the point standings to fourth.
“I’m pretty frustrated with this pit strategy deal,” Hornaday said. “It isn’t about who has the fastest truck anymore, it is about who can beat you on fuel mileage or with tire wear. We easily had a top-five truck, maybe even top three and ended up seventh. It is really disappointing for our team who had great pit stops all day long and worked on the truck to make it the best it could be.”
Hornaday and the No. 33 VFW team began the race from the fifth position. By the third lap, KHI teammates Hornaday and Kevin Harvick were charging to the front of the field, chasing eventual race winner Kyle Busch. The first caution of the race came out at lap 28. The field came to pit road for four tires at lap 30. The team brought the truck back down pit road the following lap for fuel. Due to differing strategies by other teams, Hornaday resumed competition in the eighth position.
By the half-way point Hornaday had made his way back to the third spot. The second caution of the day came out at lap 66. Hornaday was pleased with the balance of his truck and he continued to gain speed on the leaders as he tried multiple racing grooves. Crew chief Rick Ren called for no changes as the team came to pit road for four tires. The following lap they came back in to fill the truck with fuel for a run to the finish. Swift pit work by the No. 33 team handed the lead position and five valuable bonus points to Hornaday. Hornaday would remain at the helm for three laps.
As the laps wound down fuel mileage became a key element. The No. 33 was several laps short on fuel and would be forced to stop. However, a late caution at lap 113 seemed to play into the hands of the No. 33. The team brought the truck down pit road at lap 115 to put on the last set of fresh sticker tires. The following lap saw the majority of the leaders on pit road for fuel. However, several teams decided to roll the dice and stretch their fuel mileage. Restarting the race at lap 118 in the ninth position, the No. 33 team battled their way past two trucks to finish in the seventh position. Hornaday’s third top-10 finish in the first three events in 2009, places the No. 33 team fourth in the point standings 124 markers behind leader Kyle Busch.
March 7, 2009
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Race: 3 of 25
Driver: Ron Hornaday
Truck Series Point Standings: 4th (+1)
Next on the Schedule for the No. 33:
Date: March 28, 2009
Track: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway
Event Name: Kroger 250
Driver: Ron Hornaday
Broadcast Time: SPEED 1:30 p.m., EST, MRN 2:00 p.m., EST