Remember that ad campaign by Miller Breweries with the catchy phrase: "It's Miller Time?" Well, for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, "It' Hornaday Time!"
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is coming off of "summer vacation," as Speed TV's Krista Voda called it, prior to the three week hiatus of the series.
The series is heading into its Summer stretch, were they will be racing for the next 10 weeks. It's also, historically, the part of the season were Hornaday dominates.
But this season will be a little different: gone are Memphis Motorsports Park and the Milwaukee Mile, and his competitors are breathing a little easier, as "Horn" dominated both tracks with a combined total of five wins.
We will see the trucks race at a variety of unique tracks. You have the short ones: Iowa, O'Reilly Raceway Park, Gateway, Bristol. You have some longer ones added in: Nashville, Chicagoland, Kentucky. Also, the in-between ones: New Hampshire. And finally, add in the newbies: Pocono and Darlington.
For Horn, heading into this stretch of the season, he sits fourth in the points and about 170 points behind series points leader Todd Bodine.
Last season during the Summer stretch, Horn won five races in a row. He went from a 27-point deficit to a 216-point advantage, and later went on to win the title.
This season, he'll have to leapfrog not only Bodine, but Aric Almirola and Timothy Peters in the points.
It will basically be won or lost over this stretch for Horn, championship wise.
The Summer stretch favors the versatile driver, and that's Horn, who has a combined win total at these tracks of 12, while Bodine has just one, and neither Almirola or Peters have recorded one win.
Even more telling is the overall Loop Data Statistics that have been taken since 2005, which make Bodine's 170-point lead look like nothing for him to overcome.
At these upcoming tracks, Horn has a Driver Rating of 115.4 percent, an Average Running Position of 6.8, 549 Fastest Laps Run, a Laps in the Top-15 percentage of 87.6, and a Pass Differential (passes minus times passed) of plus 137 in 33 races.
While Bodine does have some strong stats, they are nowhere as good as Horn's. Bodine has a Driver Rating of 98.2 percent, and an Average Running Position of 9.5.
Now Peters has run 24 races at the upcoming 10 tracks, has a Driver Rating of 75.8 percent, and an Average Running Position of 17.5.
Almirola has run 18 races at the upcoming 10 tracks, has a Driver Rating of 79.7 and an Average Running Position of 14.8.
True, it's not really fair to compare them to Horn, since he has the advantage of having run 33 races. However, even tweaking his numbers by comparing only the same number of races they've run, and you'd end up with similar numbers to what he currently has.
So you can see why the Summer stretch favors Horn, and whether or not he capitalizes on this 10-race stretch or not.
Kevin Harvick Inc. has also been working hard in the shop building new trucks for Horn to race in over the stretch, also preparing trucks for the upcoming races and worked on a game plan out for him.
We'll just have to tune in the next 10 weeks to find out, but one thing's for sure: "Wily Old" Horn is ready to get back to racing.
After all, "It's Hornaday Time."
Photo Credit: kevinharvickinc.com