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Hornaday sits in self-dug hole still determined

April 19, 2013, Kenny Bruce,

Veteran keeps perspective amid penalties following Rockingham Speedway race

KANSAS CITY, Kan. –- Ron Hornaday was three mph faster than the track qualifying record during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice at Kansas Speedway Friday.

That run, impressive as it was, only put the four-time series champion 13th on the speed chart.

“This track is so fast,” Hornaday, driver of the No. 9 NTS Chevrolet said. “I don’t how many laps I ran … something like 60 the first session, and I probably just ran another 30 some laps and I haven’t lifted yet.”

Bill Lester’s track record of 183.633 mph, a mark established in 2005, likely won’t stand the onslaught when qualifying gets underway Saturday for the SFP 250. Twenty-two drivers posted faster speeds in the day’s final session, led by defending series champion James Buescher’s 178.737 mph effort on the 1.5-mile tri-oval.

Buescher actually ran quicker in the opening session (178.873 mph).

"Taking 25 points away, that puts us pretty far back... It’s doable, it’s just a matter of we’ll just see what happens."

-- Ron Hornaday

Such speed, Hornaday said, sets the stage for a fast and unpredictable race.

“It will be the guy that can trim his truck out the most and hang onto it,” he said. “Because when you get 36 trucks out there they handle a little different. I’ve got mine to where I feel I need it; we’ll see what we’ve got for them.”

Hornaday is looking to rebound from a two-race stretch that has seen the 54-year-old tumble from second in points to 13th.

He was docked 25 points April 17 for contact under caution with Darrell Wallace Jr. at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway, and fined $25,000. He drove a damaged car home to a 10th-place finish a week earlier at Martinsville.

“Twenty-five thousand is a lot of money for a truck team,” Hornaday said. “But NASCAR did what they felt they had to do.

“We were leading Martinsville and I got wrecked; last week my own doing put us in the back (in points). We could have been a little farther up.

“Taking 25 points away, that puts us pretty far back but we came from farther back than that when Bruce (Cook) came aboard over there at KHI; we came all the way up with about 14 points to go down in Texas and that deal with Kyle (Busch). It’s doable, it’s just a matter of we’ll just see what happens.”

Johnny Sauter, winner of the series’ first two races of the season and fifth fastest in the final practice, will carry a 16-point lead into the race.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Jeb Burton, second to Sauter, was second fastest and will be bidding for his third consecutive pole.

“We got three hours (practice) in the cold and an hour and a half in the heat,” Hornaday said. “Best of both worlds so we should be ready for whatever the weather does.”


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