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Monday, October 3, 2011

Hornaday's truck series greatness continues with 50th win

When you talk about the all-time greats in NASCAR's Truck series, one name comes to mind more than any other -- Ron Hornaday Jr.

The seemingly ageless four-time champ made history yet again this weekend with his 50th career win in the series, extending his own record.

The grit of a guy like Ron Hornaday is a perfect match for the Truck series, and I'm glad he was able to find his niche there (I doubt it would have happened in Nationwide or Cup, despite Ron's obvious driving talent).

This beating and banging series is just what the doctor ordered for an old-school racer like Hornaday, who has shown through the years that given the right equipment he can win any week.

As the only driver currently racing who was an entry in the first ever Truck race at Phoenix in 1995, Hornaday's commitment to this series has been steadfast, minus a couple brief trips to bigger series.

Some will downplay his accomplishments due to it not being Cup or Nationwide, but that's short-sighted. If you've ever watched a Truck series race, you know how hard it is to compete with those guys and win.

Driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. at the start of his career, and later for Kevin Harvick Inc., he pulled off at least one win every year he ran a full-time ride in the series. Hornaday won championships with DEI in 1996 and 1998 and with Kevin Harvick Inc. in 2007 and 2009. He has ranked among the top five in the points standings eight times.

Hornaday holds series records for most top-five (143) and top-10 (205) finishes. by a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver age 50 years or older. Hornaday stands third all-time among series pole winners with 26.

I predict many more wins in the future ... as I don't see Hornaday stepping away from the driver's seat any time soon.

“Ron has been the heart and soul of the Truck series,” said Kevin Harvick, the owner for 24 of Hornaday’s victories. “Fifty wins is just one more incredible achievement in a career that I’m sure will one day land him in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”

I couldn't agree more.


Below is a timeline of Hornaday’s notable victories on his way to 50:

1 – On April 8, 1995, at Tucson Raceway Park, Hornaday wins his first race, the second for the series. It is the first NASCAR national series victory for Dale Earnhardt Inc.

9 – On Aug. 25, 1996, at Watkins Glen International, Hornaday completes a sweep of all three road courses scheduled to date. He previously won at Heartland Park Topeka and Infineon Raceway.

10 – On Sept. 8, 1996, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Hornaday goes from sixth to first on the final lap, the only lap he led.

12 – On June 21, 1997, at Bristol Motor Speedway, Hornaday becomes the final driver to lead every lap – 200 – of a NASCAR Camping World Truck race.

25 – On April 3, 1999, at Evergreen Speedway, Hornaday wins the series’ 100th race and a $100,000 bonus posted by then series sponsor Craftsman for an eligible winner having competed in all 99 previous events. The victory is his last in the series for Dale Earnhardt Inc.

27 – On March 18, at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hornaday edges Bobby Labonte by 0.008 seconds in the series’ then-closest finish on a superspeedway.

35 – On June 6, 2008, at Texas Motor Speedway, Hornaday breaks a 10-race winless drought at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. He returns in November to complete a season sweep at the Ft. Worth track.

36 – On June 28, 2008 at Memphis Motorsports Park, Hornaday scores the first of 14 victories at the age of 50 years or older.

45 – On Aug. 1, 2009, at Nashville Superspeedway, Hornaday completes a string of five consecutive victories that began at The Milwaukee Mile and continued at Memphis Motorsports Park, Kentucky Speedway and Lucas Oil Raceway. He is the first national series driver to post such a streak since 1971.

47 – On Oct. 23, 2010, Hornaday, the series’ leading short track winner, is finally a winner in his 17th trip to Martinsville Speedway.

49 – On Sept. 2, 2011, at Atlanta Motor Speedway, wins for the 14th time past the age of 50 breaking a record he’d shared with Joe Ruttman for the most wins past 50 in a single national series.

Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson back in the mix

Prior to the Dover race, Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch were hovering near the bottom of the point standings. After Dover, that is no longer the case, and their great runs had them leapfrogging a handful of competitors and jumping right back into the title hunt.

“I feel like that we’re right in the mix. You just have to cover up those bad days," Kurt said. "Tony Stewart struggled today. He’s going to be dropping back. You just have to run consistent.”

Despite his surge, Jimmie still isn't happy, and says he should have scored more points by now, and also mentioned how easy it is for things to go bad again.

"I look at it and say we left points on the table. New Hampshire, for sure all three of them, absolutely, without a doubt. Not getting the restart I needed today at the end, that's on me and no one else," Johnson said. "This Chase is so tough to know what it's going to take, and I just we look at the 14 car, and what he did in the first two races and then the struggles they had today. I think it speaks to how tough these ten races are going to be and how you think somebody is on fire and the fire can go out.
So we'll just keep fighting hard. I hate leaving points on the table, and we have these first three."

Goodyear To Continue As Exclusive Tire Supplier Through 2017

NEW YORK – NASCAR and Goodyear announced they have signed an extended agreement for Goodyear to continue as the exclusive tire used in NASCAR’s top three racing series for the next five years.

The agreement, which extends through the 2017 season, renews Goodyear as the “Exclusive Tire Supplier” of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Goodyear has had an uninterrupted commitment to NASCAR since becoming a race tire supplier in the 1950s, making it one of the longest-running supply programs in any sport. In addition, Goodyear has been the exclusive tire supplier for all three of the circuit’s top series since 1997.

Tickets For NASCAR After The Lap Go On Sale

Tickets are officially on sale today for 2011 NASCAR After The Lap, scheduled for December 1 at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas.

NASCAR After the Lap is one of the highlights of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, Nev. Tickets for the third-annual event are now available for purchase at for $20 each, with proceeds benefitting The NASCAR Foundation, a non-profit that raises funds that support children’s charities and important causes throughout the nation.

NASCAR After The Lap features an unfiltered, “tell-all” format featuring the 2011 top 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers. The event is scheduled for Dec. 1 at 4:30 p.m. PT.

Fans can get a front-row seat for the conclusion of NASCAR Victory Lap at the Coca-Cola Fan Zone, which is located at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. Beginning at noon, the Coca-Cola Fan Zone offers interactive displays from Sprint, Game Show Network, Coca-Cola and Ford, and is a prelude to NASCAR After The Lap.

For fans unable to attend NASCAR After The Lap, NASCAR.COM will offer a live web cast at NASCAR.COM. Additionally, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will broadcast the event live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90.

Kansas Speedway, by the numbers

-- Groundbreaking was held on May 25, 1999.
-- The official opening of Kansas Speedway was in 2001, with the first events being an ARCA race and a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race on the same day – June 2.
-- The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was Sept. 30, 2001.

-- There have been 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Kansas since the track opened in 2001.
-- All of the races have been scheduled for 267 laps.
-- 10 drivers have competed in all 11 races at Kansas.
-- Jeff Gordon won the first two NASCAR Sprint Cup races.
-- Jason Leffler won the first pole in September 2001.
-- Eight different drivers have won poles, led by Jimmie Johnson with three.
-- Eight different drivers have posted victories, led by Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart (each with two).
-- Seven of the 11 races have been won from a top-10 starting position.
-- Two drivers have won from the pole: Joe Nemechek in 2004 and Jimmie Johnson in 2008.
-- The furthest back in the field that a race winner started was 25th, by Brad Keselowski earlier this season.
-- Three active drivers with more than one start have averaged a top-10 finish: Greg Biffle (8.3), Jeff Gordon (8.1) and Jimmie Johnson (9.1).
-- Jeff Gordon leads all drivers in top fives (eight) and top 10s (nine). Gordon’s only two non-top 10s were a 39th in 2006 and a 13th in 2004.
-- Seven of the 11 races that ended under green had a margin of victory under one second. The 2007 race ended under caution.

Kansas Speedway Data
Race #: 30 of 36 (10-9-11)
Track Size: 1.5 miles
-- Banking/Corners: 15 degrees
-- Banking/Frontstretch: 10.4 degrees
-- Banking/Backstretch: 5 degrees
-- Frontstretch: 2,685 feet
-- Backstretch: 2,207 feet

Driver Rating at Kansas
Greg Biffle 118.8
Jimmie Johnson 116.5
Jeff Gordon 107.3
Tony Stewart 105.3
Carl Edwards 98.7
Matt Kenseth 98.6
Mark Martin 92.7
Kurt Busch 91.8
Kevin Harvick 89.4
Clint Bowyer 86.5
Denny Hamlin 85.2
Brad Keselowski 84.8
Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2011 races (7 total) at Kansas.

Qualifying/Race Data
2010 pole winner: Kasey Kahne (174.844 mph, 30.920 seconds)
2010 race winner: Greg Biffle, 138.077 mph, 10-03-10)
Qualifying record: Matt Kenseth (180.856 mph, 29.858 seconds, 10-08-05)
Race record: Greg Biffle (138.077 mph, 10-03-10)

NASCAR in Kansas
-- There have been 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Kansas, all at Kansas Speedway. The only other Kansas track to hold a NASCAR national series race was Heartland Park in Topeka, which hosted five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races from 1995-99.
-- 16 drivers in NASCAR’s three national series (all-time) have their home state recorded as Kansas, including Jim Roper who won the very first NASCAR Sprint Cup race – Charlotte in 1949.
-- There have been two race winners in the top three NASCAR series from Kansas:

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