AAA Insurance 200: Ron Hornaday Ends 22-Race Losing Streak
Ron Hornaday Jr. ended a 22 race losing streak with a convincing victory in Friday night's AAA Insurance 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park.
Hornaday and his No. 33 Georgia Boots team were led by crew chief Ernie Cope this week, and they went back to a basic package.
You wouldn't know it by Horn's performance in the closing laps, but he continued to pull away from Kyle Busch, even bouncing off the wall, and winning by 2.095 seconds.
Hornaday would qualify fifth for the AAA Insurance 200 after running third in the first practice, and fifth in the final practice.
By the first caution on Lap 10, Horn was running in fourth, right on Matt Crafton's bumper and getting ready to battle for third.
On the Lap 18 restart, Horn passed Crafton for third and started after the leaders, Timothy Peters and Kyle Busch. But As the laps ticked off Horn slowly closed the gap on between himself and Peters and Busch.
At Lap 40, Horn was back 1.835 seconds behind Peters and about a second behind Busch in second.
By Lap 61, Horn passed Busch on the low side for second and started to reel in Peters.
On Lap 63, Horn caught and passed Peters on the low side for the lead, and managed to pull away by several truck lengths on that lap.
Horn had stretched the lead to 1.863 seconds on Busch in second by Lap 68, while Peters and Crafton were battling side-by-side for third and fourth.
On Lap 72, Horn had a 2.325 second lead on Busch in second, teammates Crafton and Johnny Sauter both passed Peters for third and fourth.
On Lap 86, Horn lead by 1.114 seconds on Crafton in second, but the second caution came out for debris on the track.
This brought all the lead lap trucks to pit road. Horn fueled up, got four tires and an air pressure adjustment, but his No. 33 team held serve with getting him off pit road with the lead.
On the Lap 90 restart, Horn would take the green starting on the high side. Coming into turn one, he get the jump on Crafton, but he'd rally back, and coming back to the stripe Horn cleared him for the lead.
On Lap 97, the third caution came out for a multi-truck wreck involving Narian Karthikegan, Aric Almirola, and Mario Gosselin. At the time, Horn held a 0.463 second trail on Busch in second.
On the Lap 101 restart, Horn took the green again on the high side, battled most of the lap side-by-side with Busch , and came to the stripe Horn led by a nose.
The following lap, Busch would get loose below Horn, leave a tire donut on the No. 33 and allow Horn to clear him for the lead.
On Lap 106, Horn held a 0.363 second lead on Busch in second, but Sauter would pass Busch on the low side for second and Crafton was on his bumper for third.
By Lap 108, Horn would lead Sauter in second by 0.423 seconds and Busch in third is 1.423 seconds back.
The fourth caution comes out on Lap 120 for debris and once pit road opened just Peters and Jason White were the only lead lap drivers to pit and everyone else stayed out.
On the Lap 124 restart, Horn took the green flag coming out of turn two, he had the lead pulling away from Sauter in second.
As the laps ticked off, Horn would maintain anywhere from a half second to a 0.895 second lead on Sauter in second.
The fifth caution came out on Lap 142, for a wreck involving Donny Lia and Nick Hoffman. Both Peters and White stayed on the track, but the rest of the lead lap trucks pit.
Horn's No. 33 was serviced a second time giving him four tires and fuel. He got off the pit road first and lined up in third on the restart.
On the Lap 147 restart, Peters took the green, due to White starting bad and was able to pull away by half a second.
On Lap 151, while Peters still leads, Busch and Horn are side-by-side battling for second and third.
On Lap 155, Horn would pass both Peters and Busch in the same straight away on the bottom and take the lead.
Over the final 45 laps, Horn would stretch his lead from a truck length to a 2.096 lead and cruise to his first win of 2010.
But this particular win wasn't achieved without some concern over the No. 33 pit wagon that had co-owner Kevin Harvick sitting with Cope and in communication with his driver and spotter Rick Carelli.
On Lap 186, Horn ran over a piece of paper while still leading, and caused a small fire near the right tire when it hit the hot exhaust pipes.
Then with six laps to go, Horn bounced his truck off of the wall, but didn't miss a beat continuing to widen his lead on Busch.
Horn would lead 129 laps of 200, win his fourth race at ORP, and earn his 46th career victory in the Truck Series.
"I'm worn out," said Hornaday after the race.
"It was hot day. I have to thank Georgia Boot for coming on board and sticking with us, all of our sponsors have been so supportive."
"It takes a lot of people to make this happen and I can't thank them enough. Maybe now with this win, it will keep everybody from talking about the streak. Ernie Cope made all the right calls tonight, whatever he did on that last stop made all the difference."
"I have to thank the No. 33 team, they have been working their guts out and they deserved a win. We had a great truck here tonight, I love this race track, and we got what we came here for".
Kyle Busch was second, Matt Crafton was third, Johnnny Sauter fourth, and James Buescher fifth.
The next race is the inaugural Pocono Mountain 125 at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, July 31 at 2:00PM.
Source for quotes: truckseries.com and kevinharvickinc.com
Photo Credit: zimbio.com
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