News & Media


Hornaday joins Joe Denette Motorsports in 2012

November 18, 2011, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Ron Hornaday, a four-time champion in the Camping World Truck Series, has found a home for 2012 with Joe Denette Motorsports.

Hornaday's hiring was made official in a news conference at 1 p.m. Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the veteran driver revealed he would be behind the wheel in the No. 9 Chevrolet truck to be fielded full-time by JDM next season.

"Kevin really helped us all out. He's going to lease the shop to us, where he's kept some of the fabricators who have been working on it all along. We've kept Jeff Hensley as crew chief. So I don't think we're going to miss a lick."

--RON HORNADAY

"We're making some big changes and looking to make big improvements for next year," team owner Joe Denette said Friday. "We expect to win races and run for a championship."

Hornaday said he signed the contract to drive for JDM just after 9 p.m. Thursday. Denette later confirmed that it is a one-year deal with an option for a second year.

Hornaday enters Friday's season finale with four victories in 2011 and 51 for his storied career. But he found himself out of a ride when Kevin Harvick Inc., which fields the No. 33 truck Hornaday currently drives, decided to close down its operation at the end of this season.

"It's going to be a great year for us next year," Hornaday said. "Kevin really helped us all out. He's going to lease the shop to us, where he's kept some of the fabricators who have been working on it all along. We've kept Jeff Hensley as crew chief. So I don't think we're going to miss a lick.

"We're going to be No. 9 -- Joe's favorite number with Bill Elliott. We're pretty excited about that."

Denette founded JDM last year after winning a $75.6 million jackpot in the Mega Millions lottery game in 2009. A year later, Denette experimented by fielding a part-time team in the Camping World Truck Series before going to a full-time team with driver Jason White this season.

Denette said he informed White of Hornaday's hiring Friday morning, and that White was still deciding whether or not to take JDM up on the offer to stick around as part of the organization and run a part-time schedule in 2012. Denette said it is his "understanding" that White and current sponsor GunBroker.com will continue to stay together.

Earlier this year, White and Denette confirmed that White brought the sponsor along with the driver for 2011 and provided "roughly half" of the $3.5 million Denette estimated that it was going to take to fund the team for the season. Denette covered most of the other half out of his own pocket.

Heading into Friday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, White was 16th in points with two top-five and four top-10 finishes in 24 starts. Denette also occasionally fielded a second truck this season with Elliott Sadler driving it on two occasions -- including at Bristol in August when Sadler drove the No. 24 truck to a ninth-place finish after winning the pole.

Denette, who took home roughly $31 million in cash from his lottery strike after taxes, said earlier this year that he one day hopes to own a Sprint Cup team. But first, he said then, he would be looking to prove he could help form a team that could win at NASCAR's lower national touring series levels.

"I'm not looking at it to make millions. I'm looking at it, actually, to win races and to win championships," Denette said. "You look at Cup, and the money is there. Truck racing, there really isn't the money to be made -- but it's more racing, if you ask me."

Hornaday, meanwhile, said he rebuffed an offer to drive a Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports and reached a handshake deal "very quickly" with Denette and Hermie Sadler, who helps run Denette's operation. Hornaday added that staying in a Chevrolet was very important to him.

"Hermie and I shook hands at Texas [two weekends ago]. ... I couldn't see going with another manufacturer," Hornaday said. "Chevrolet and GM have been with me a long time. It would be stupid for me to even think about switching. I wouldn't even know where the distributor cap was on another manufacturer's [truck]."