Ron Hornaday: Looking Back at His Amazing Season Statistically

Horn FanSenior Writer INovember 29, 2009

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 20:  (L-R) Team owner Kevin Harvick, driver Ron Hornaday Jr., driver of the #33 VFW.org Chevrolet, and crew chief Rick Ren, celebrate winning the series title in Victory Lane after finishing 8th in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2009 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

It was a dream season for Kevin Harvick Inc.'s Ron Hornaday, chocked full of series firsts, career achieving milestones, and he's forever sealed his name in NASCAR history.

Really, Hornaday's season started last year after the 2008 Awards Banquet.

You see Horn, his crew chief Rick Ren, team manager and spotter Rick Carelli, co-owner Kevin Harvick and other teammates sat down held a meeting about how they would get on stage for the 2009 Banquet.

They put together a game plan, shared their thoughts on areas they could improve on, be more consistent, what needed to be eliminated and no mistakes.

More importantly through dedication, hard-work and teamwork they could achieve their goal.

Horn started the season by finishing no worse than seventh in the first six races, and even picked up his first win of the season at Charlotte.

In 23 races of 25, he qualified sixth or better, picked up four pole awards and started seven times from the front row.

Even more impressive was 22 of those 23 races he qualified in the top five.

Horn, in a five-race stretch from mid-June at Milwaukee till early August at Nashville, won five consecutive races.

He equaled a mark NASCAR hasn't seen happen in 38 years, putting his name with Richard Petty and Bobby Allison, who did it in 1971.

Picking up his first wins at Kentucky and Nashville, repeating at Memphis and broke in brand-new chassis twice during the streak.

Point wise over that stretch, Horn went from a 27-point deficit to a 216 point advantage and it was just "take care of business" over the remaining races.

Horn also would be named the Third Quarter Driver of the Year, something no one in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has ever done before.

In the 11 races after his winning streak, Horn didn't win another race, but he did pick up six top fives, eight top-10 finishes, and out-pointed Matt Crafton for the title.

Horn went into Phoenix with a 197 points lead, for the Lucas Oil 150 and just needed to finish ahead of Crafton for the title.

He finished fourth to clinch his fourth title, becoming only the second driver in the history of the Trucks to clinch the driver's title prior to Homestead.

Greg Biffle did it in 2000, also at Phoenix.

In winning his fourth title, not only did he become NASCAR's oldest champion at 51, but he breaks the tie with good friend Jack Sprague for the most title wins in the series.

Horn added his name with two Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt along with Jeff Gordon becoming the fourth driver to win four titles.

One of my favorite highlights of the season, happened at Phoenix just after Horn clinched the driver's championship.

Believe it was Speed TV's Ray Dunlap asking him how it felt. "It's not over by far," Hornaday said.

Horn was refering that he was still racing hard for the owner's title, to win it for Delana and Kevin and that was the important title.

Of course a ailing Horn battling the flu, took care of business and won the owner's championship for the Harvick's.

He'd compiled over the 25-race season six wins, 15 top fives, 20 top-10 finishes, four poles and led 1,091 laps en route to his fourth title.

In all, 2009 was a amazing season for Horn, but it also was redemption for him being more consistent, and eliminated the mistakes that cost him in 2008.

And being a fan of the wily veteran, it was just awesome to see him put his name with legends not once but three times.

More amazing was he accomplished it, with his boss selling his old trucks as fast, as he built him new ones to race in.

About the only thing left for him in Trucks to do is to become the first to repeat as champion.

FYI, don't count him out, Harvick won twice in Horn's 2010 Chevys in the final two races. 

The off-season will be a painfully slow one, as I can't wait to see him defending his title.


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