Ron Hornaday Finishes Fourth In a Rain Shortened Kansas Truck Race
It was deja vu all over again at Kansas, as Ron Hornaday in the No. 33 Copart.com Chevrolet would repeat winning the pole for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 and with a speed of 168.329 mph.
For the second time in 2009, rain has delayed a Saturday race to Monday and for a while it didn't look like they would get this one in at all.
At the drop of the green, Ron Hornaday and Mike Skinner would battle side by side through two turns for the lead.
Hornaday would let Skinner take the lead coming into turn three and didn't want to push it too hard early.
Since Kansas Speedway is one of those tracks were if your racing another car or truck, whomever is on the bottom can get loose by the draft of the other and usually spin.
Three laps into the race, the first caution came out for Hornaday's KHI teammate Ricky Carmichael getting loose below another truck and spinning.
On the Lap six restart, Hornaday would pass Skinner on the low-side coming into turn one and take the lead by a couple of truck lengths coming back to the line.
Hornaday would pull away by truck lengths, by lap 38 he had a 2.6 seconds lead when the third caution came out.
Everyone would pit under the caution, Hornaday would take four tires on the first stop and then get two cans of fuel on the second stop.
Hornaday came out of the pits in fifth, due to the rain several of the top four only put in one can of fuel to get track position.
On Lap 45 the rain came, ultimately lightning with heavier rain would red flag the race on lap 52 and cause it to be rescheduled for Monday.
Minutes after making the decision tornado sirens went off, fortunately nothing came near the track and everyone at the track would be okay.
Hornaday would lead 34 of the 52 laps and was fourth at the time of the red flag.
On Monday, NASCAR under the red flag conditions, would do something they rarely let any of the three Elite Series do under a red flag.
They would allow the teams to fill their trucks with fuel and thought level the playing field in regards to fuel mileage. It also threw away the advantage the few teams that took two cans of fuel on the lap 39 had over those that took just one can.
Hornaday would restart fourth on lap 61, but would be running second in less than a lap and showed the No. 33 has some serious power under it's hood.
On Lap 71, the caution came out and it proved to be a turning point in the race. While teams couldn't fuel up till the competition caution, several teams took only two tires or a few won't pit at all.
While Hornaday's crew chief Rick Ren would make another pit strategy call, taking four tires and would enable them to just stop for fuel at the competition caution.
On the Lap 85 competition caution, Hornaday would pit for fuel and would be second following pit stops.
On the restart on Lap 90, Hornaday would go to pass leader Brian Scott on the low side and they would beat and bang before Horn made the pass stick.
Horn would pull away from Scott by a couple of seconds and would lead 24 laps.
With the threat of more rain coming and the No. 33 team couldn't make it to the finish without pitting for fuel.
So Ren would make another pit strategy call. When Horn pitted on lap 113 for tires and make a second stop for fuel.
But not every driver made two stops, the eventually race winner Mike Skinner just took fuel.
Along with several other front runners just taking fuel and Horn restarted in ninth.
On the restart, Hornaday would start picking off position heading back to the front.
By Lap 120, Horn was running fourth and had the rain held off another 35 laps. he probably would have been leading or battling with Skinner for the lead.
On Lap 122, NASCAR threw the caution for rain and rain the trucks on the track till lap 132. When the rain went from a sprinkle to a down pour, and they red flagged the race.
Mike Skinner would be awarded the win, the first for Randy Moss Motorsports and 35 laps shy of the full 167 lap race.
Hornaday would get his third top five of 2009, led 59 laps and sits in second 25 points behind Skinner in the driver point standings.
"I thought our pit strategy was going to work out," said Hornaday as the rain fell.
"We had the freshest tires of anyone out there. Rick Ren (crew chief) made a good call. Had we have gone to the end of this thing; I think we would have been the truck they were all chasing. It's really frustrating to race this way, but you can't control Mother Nature. I just want to thank all of my guys on this Copart team. I had a awesome truck, I just hate we didn't get the chance to show what we had there at the end."
Photo Credit: racingone.com
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