Ron Hornady would've, should've, could've, but didn't and it's left the defending champion 28th in the points.
Hornaday and his No. 33 Longhorn team came to Atlanta looking to rally back and hoping for a good day. Unfortunately, the team gambled on a tire rub, rolled the dice, it came up snake eyes and ended there day early finishing 34th.
The chemistry looked good between Horn and his new crew chief Doug George and the 33 team. They looked good in both practices running 30 laps between the two, making multiple changes to his truck.
Horn was the fourth fastest in the first, and ran 15th fastest in the final one.
Then he went out and won the pole for the race. One thing about Horn, he's one of several drivers in the series. That you can't judge how they are in practice, and it's how well they qualify as to just how really good they are.
It goes without say that he had one stout Chevy on Saturday. Horn took the green heading into turn one it was three wide with Busch and Crafton.
When Horn trying to hold his line, got loose on the cold tires and made slight contact with Busch. The end result was his left rear fender slightly bent in rubbing on his tire.
The team debated making a pit stop for fresh tires and to pull the fender out. While for several laps his truck did have tire smoke, it did dissipated and stop.
His spotter Rick Carelli thought it didn't look too bad and teammate/boss Kevin Harvick did drive right behind also saying the same thing.
So Horn would stay out, rather than lose a lap or two early and not because he would not have made it up later in the race.
He would remain among the leaders, continue fighting for the lead and actually led Lap 11 before quickly surrender the lead to Busch.
Horn would settle into third, with his truck getting looser each lap and was patiently waiting for a pit stop. Unfortunately Horn became the first caution on Lap 23, when his left rear tire explode and sent him into the wall.
His No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet received extensive rear end damage and also the right side was pancaked in.
His team worked pretty hard trying to get Horn back out to log some laps for points but the damage was too great to repair.
Horn finished 34th for the day, add that to his 28th place finish at Daytona and many have written him off too repeat.
But Horn along with Skinner are two guys that you just can never write off and throw the statistic's out the window with them.
It is what it is, but adversity like this will only make the No. 33 Longhorn team strong and they'll battle back to factor into the championship at Homestead.
Photo Credit: sports.yahoo.com
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