From the Kentucky Speedway
(July 8, 2006) Two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Ron Hornaday, Jr. wound his way through a 38-truck field from the 22nd starting spot and picked up his first Kentucky Speedway win July 8 in the Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers in front of a crowd of 21,889.
Photo by Don Ward
in winner's circle
after winning the
'Built Ford Tough 225'.
Hornaday Jr., driving the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet, took his first of three race leads on Lap 55 and drove among the top five until he made his final pit stop on Lap 100 of 150. Racing on old tires, the Palmdale, Calif., veteran tapped his restart expertise twice in the final 12 laps to hold off charges from eventual second-place finisher Rick Crawford, third-place finisher Brendan Gaughan and fourth-place finisher Johnny Benson. The latter three were locked in a three-wide battle for position in the closing laps.
Hornaday Jr. beat Crawford to the finish line by 0.586 of a second to register the third-closest series victory in seven events at the track. He also posted the greatest improvement from a starting position by a Kentucky Speedway NCTS winner.
Ive always stunk at qualifying, but have been good on restarts, Hornaday Jr. said. If I tell you what I do on the restarts, then everyone will know, and I wont be good anymore. So, Im not going to tell you.
His second victory of the season helps him vault four positions in the series standings to sixth and gives him a total of four top-five and six top-10 finishes through 13 races.
I put myself in a position to win here tonight, he said. We worked hard on the truck all day. We didnt know what to expect in qualifying and when the green flag dropped, we had pretty good luck.
We ran a long time on old tires. With 20 to go, Rick (Crawford) really ran up our tailpipe coming out of Turn 2, but a couple of yellows bunched us up. We were able to get some clean air on the restarts and I was able to race flat-footed for the last few laps.
Crawford maintained the fifth spot in the series standings with his second straight second-place finish, third top-five and ninth top-10 performance of the season. He also gained a bit of redemption after ending his then series record 210-race consecutive start streak here last season when he sustained injuries during a qualifying run and was not medically cleared to start the race.
We are very, very satisfied. We brought a good truck tonight and put on a good show, he said. Our guys were awesome, they did a good job in the pits getting us from 23rd to second. I tried my best to make a move on Ron. I think our truck was a bit better, but when Brendan drove it up on the outside I knew that I could not run and fight Ron. I dont care who were racing, I just want to compete. Thats what we did today.
Gaughan collected his second straight top-five and third top-10 finish of the season.
Im excited. This was good old-fashioned racing, he said. I had a chance to win but just didnt have enough. We do something that nobody else does with transmissions and I go to the high side. I screwed up with two laps to go and tried to go low in Turn 3. I shouldnt have done it. Thats what cost us second.
Series leader Todd Bodine closed out the race 10th. He entered the July 15 race at Memphis Motorsports Park with a 133-point lead over second-place driver David Reutimann in the series standings.
"It wasn't easy. That's for sure," Bodine said afterward. "Right off the bat, we knew that we were in trouble, and when we finally figured out what was wrong, we had to go back and change the other things. But a championship team doesn't give up. We survived and gained some more points. When you don't have a truck that can win, you try to get points."
Top rookie finisher Erik Darnell, who finished ninth, said, " We weren't where we needed to be tonight. We ran decent by ourselves, but the truck got tight in traffic. We were fortunate to have the yellows fall where they did tonight."