DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 19, 2011) — The No. 33 Steak-umm Chevrolet team set out to kick off 2011 on a winning note, looking to grab the victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Four-time series champion Ron Hornaday put the Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) Chevrolet Silverado in a solid starting position qualifying for the NextEra Energy 150 in the third position.
The KHI team of drivers including Elliott Sadler and Nelson Piquet Jr. decided to team up and drop to the rear of the field in an effort to avoid any early race accidents at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. The first round of pit stops came during green-flag action. The No. 33 Chevrolet, in 31st-position, came down pit road on lap 31 to top off with fuel and picked up 16 positions.
The first caution flag of the 100-lap event fell at lap 39 and the Steak-umm Chevrolet came down pit road for a set of fresh tires and fuel. Hornaday reported that he was happy with the handling of the truck and asked for no adjustments. Running in the 15th position the second caution flag waved on lap 53 for debris. Hornaday took fuel only on their third pit stop and was hoping to charge to the front as the field went back to green.
Continuing to fight through the field, Hornaday returned to pit road for a scheduled green-flag stop to top off on fuel to assure they could make it to the checkers. While on pit road, the team took off a piece of tape to avoid any possibility of overheating.
The big wreck which the famed superspeedway is known for producing happened on lap 76 when the No. 05 truck driven by Travis Kvapil blew a right-front tire sending him straight into the No. 33 Steak-umm Chevrolet. The No. 33 truck was taken directly to the garage and the team wasted no time in fixing the KHI machine so they could get back on the track to collect valuable championship points. Despite a high amount of damage to the truck, the team was able to get the truck repaired enough to return their driver to competition.
With a full-course red flag at lap 98, the No. 33 team took advantage of the 10-minute delay to make some final repairs. After NASCAR had deemed the track clear and ready, Hornaday reunited with the rest of the field for the green-white-checker finish and brought home a 28th-place for Steak-umm and KHI.
The Daytona International Speedway NextEra 250 winner was Michael Waltrip, who took the victory in the Daytona 500 exactly 10 years ago. KHI teammate Sadler brought home a hard-fought second-place finish, with KHI rookie of the year contender, Piquet, Jr. earning a 27th-place finish after fighting engine problems. Action in the Truck Series returns next Friday, February 25 at Phoenix International Raceway.