Ron Hornaday Jr. gets his second chance at becoming the first driver in the Camping World Truck Series to win four consecutive races Friday in the AAA Insurance 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.
It has proved to be an elusive achievement in the 15 seasons of the series. Five drivers share the record of three in a row: Mike Skinner (1996 and 2007), Hornaday (1997), Greg Biffle (2000), Todd Bodine (2005) and Johnny Benson (2008).
"Three in a row is incredible," Hornaday said. "I'm not sure what we're doing, but we need to keep doing it."
Hornaday has put together the streak with back-to-back runaway runs at 1-mile Milwaukee and .75-mile Memphis, combining to lead 355 of 401 laps, followed by a well-crafted performance in the closing 24 laps that carried him from sixth to first at 1.5-mile Kentucky.
Hornaday's remarkable restart ability, admired by drivers throughout NASCAR's three national series, and the team's good work that got the Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet in top form at the end, were the keys at Kentucky.
"Restarts have always been something that I have worked on," Hornaday said. "I think I have a pretty good system right now. As competitive as the truck series is, you have to have something up your sleeve to get an advantage."
Hornaday has an outstanding record at .686-mile ORP, with victories in 2007 and 1997. Since returning to the series full time with KHI in 2005, he also has finished second in 2008 and third in 2005 and 2006. Of Hornaday's record 43 wins in the series, 19 have come on tracks less than 1-mile in length.
"I really like racing at ORP and tracks like it," Hornaday said. "I grew up racing on tracks very similar to it. I think knowing how to race guys and knowing when to pass on short tracks have been the key to my success. Luck has had a lot to do with it, too."
Hornaday has a 96-point lead over Matt Crafton going into the 13th of 25 races. Skinner is 154 behind in third.
After missing three straight races, Kyle Busch returns at ORP in a Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota. Busch has two wins and three second places in seven truck starts this season. His teammate will be Aric Almirola, who finished a career-best fourth at Memphis and fifth at Kentucky.
Hornaday escaped penalty from NASCAR from an illegal rear housing confiscated in initial technical inspection at Kentucky. NASCAR announced Wednesday that crew chief Rick Ren was fined $5,000 and placed on probation until December 31 for the rules violation.
by Tim Tuttle