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Keeping Pace

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series News And Notes - Nashville

Ron Hornaday Jr. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR) (Sam Greenwood / The Spokesman-Review)
Ron Hornaday Jr. (Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR) (Sam Greenwood / The Spokesman-Review)

At age 51, Ron Hornaday’s fifth win of 2009 ties him with Harry Gant and Joe Ruttman for the most wins in the same season by a driver over the age of 50.

Courtesy: NASCAR Media Relations

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It is no doubt that Ron Hornaday Jr. (No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet) continues to be one of the most dominant NASCAR Camping World Series drivers this season. His win last Friday at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis was one for the record books. He became the first driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to collect four consecutive wins, a feat that has been accomplished numerous times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and only once by Sam Ard in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 1983.

In 13 races this season, he already has five wins and has finished outside the top 10 only twice, at Dover in May and at Texas in June. 

At age 51, Hornaday’s fifth win also ties him with Harry Gant and Joe Ruttman for the most wins in the same season by a driver over the age of 50.

Looking to this weekend, Hornaday remains winless at Nashville, one of eight tracks at which he has yet to make it to Victory Lane. In four starts at the track, he has two top-five finishes including a runner-up in 2007. The only time he finished outside the top 15 was in 2006 when he was involved in an accident that ended his run before the scheduled 150 laps. Hornaday also has his eye on that Gibson guitar trophy.

“I’ve been so close to winning at Nashville,” he said. “In 2007, we had the thing won but ended up missing it by just a little and finished second. I went by (artist) Sam Bass’s studio a few weeks ago and he showed me his guitar collection. It was very impressive and I told him that I really wanted to win one of his specially- designed guitars.”

Bodine Ready To Rock N’ Roll At Nashville

Don’t count out Todd Bodine (No. 30 Ventrilo Toyota) this weekend at Nashville.

It could be said he’s got unfinished business at the 1.333-mile Tennessee track. Bodine started from the pole a year ago before ending the race in third. In four starts he has collected three top-fives and one top-10 finish there. His lowest result was eighth in 2006.

“We’ve definitely been close and we should have won at Nashville,” he said. “We just have to put it all together to get our No. 30 Ventrilo Toyota into Victory Lane. To win at this track, you’ve got to have everything go right—the right strategy, right track position. Nashville is a fast track so aero is very important, and with the concrete surface, handling can play a huge part.”

Like all the other competitors, Bodine wants the infamous Gibson guitar trophy.

“If you win, you get one of the most unique trophies in racing,” he said. 

And if he wins Saturday?

“For now, the guitar would go to Germain Racing so everyone could see it,” Bodine said. “It’s one of those trophies you want to display and be proud of it. After being at the shop for a while, I’d move it home and put it in my office.”

That’s significant. The last trophy to go home with Bodine? His 2006 series championship trophy.

Crew Chief Danny Rollins Looks Forward To Racing At Home

Lebanon, Tenn., native Danny Rollins is looking forward to being back in his home state. The veteran crew chief heads up the HT Motorsports No. 25 Cajun Industries team with driver Terry Cook.

Rollins talks about winning on his home turf:

What is it like to race at home?

“Its probably more pressure to race at home because of my hometown friends and family being there watching. They all have high expectations every week when watching on TV but when they’re right there, it’s even more. At the same time though, its nice to go back home and visit and see all those people who do support you through thick and thin.”

What is it like to win at Nashville?

“I’ve done it once before with Bobby Hamilton in 2004 and it was a really cool experience. I looked through Victory Lane and saw my friends and family there with me enjoying it. We have our racing family there all the time but to be able to experience a win with my real family and friends, too, it was that much more exciting. The guitar is such a unique trophy and you hear them talking about it in all the NASCAR racing divisions. Everyone wants to win a trophy but one as unique as the Gibson guitar is like a notch in the belt.”

What does it take to make it Victory Lane at this track?

“Usually at Nashville you fight being able to turn in the middle of the corners the whole weekend. You have to work on making the truck turn without being loose off the corners and that poses a challenge. The track requires more discipline for the driver usually because he has to drive with a different style and use more finesse to get around it. You can’t over-drive it and if you do, then you will use valuable time. The track changes when the temperatures do but not as bad as other tracks we go to.”

Your driver is currently ninth in the standings. What do you think it takes to stay among the top 10 in such a competitive series?

“I think consistency is key to staying in the top 10 in points. We can’t be having all the damage wrecks that we have been having to stay up there heading into the second part of the season. We have to capitalize on finishes and finish in the top 10 each week with no DNF’s. It’s so competitive out there and teams and drivers have to step up and use everything they have and make the most out of the finishes.”


  • Rick Ren, crew chief for the Kevin Harvick Inc. No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet team and driver Ron Hornaday Jr., is on the verge of making the NCWTS record books himself. With the team’s win at ORP, Ren is tied with Dennis Connor as the all-time winning crew chief in the series. He’s accumulated 26 wins with five different drivers. Three of those drivers are part of KHI: Former series driver and now KHI General Manager Rick Carelli; Andy Houston, who is also a former NASCAR driver and is currently the No. 4 KHI team’s spotter; and of course three-time series champion Hornaday. At the rate his team is competing, chances are high Ren will eclipse that 26-win mark.
  • Travis Kvapil, the 2004 series champion and 2007 race winner at Nashville, will be back with the series this weekend piloting the No. 51 Miccosukee Resort & Casino Toyota for Billy Ballew Motorsports. In five starts, Kvapil has one top-five and one top-10 finish to go with his win. He most recently competed in the series last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he grabbed a sixth- place finish.
  • Blake Feese will be making his second career start in the series this weekend as Kvapil's teammate in the No. 15 Toyota for BBM. Feese made his series debut with BBM in 2005 at Kentucky where he finished 15th. In 2004, the driver won the ARCA Re/MAX Series race at Nashville.

Loop Data: Mike Skinner Needs To Turn Strong Stats Into Nashville Win

With a runner-up finish at O’Reilly Raceway Park last Friday night, Mike Skinner (No. 5 PC Miller Navigator Toyota) leapfrogged Matt Crafton (No. 88 Menard’s Chevrolet) into second place in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings.

Skinner is now 174 points behind points leader – and winner of four straight races – Ron Hornaday Jr. The gap can’t be erased in one race, so a “chip away” strategy will be employed by the 1995 series champion.

A large chunk can be knocked off this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway, a track where Skinner is strong – and Hornaday has hiccupped.

Skinner has finished in the top five in two of the last four races, racking up a number of series-best statistics. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, Skinner has a series-best Driver Rating of 123.3, a series-best Average Running Position of 3.8, a series-high 575 Laps in the Top 15 (95.7%) and a series-high 83 Fastest Laps Run.

Hornaday’s numbers trail Skinner’s by a wide margin, mostly thanks to a 33rd-place DNF in 2006 (his last two races at Nashville resulted in top-five finishes).

In his Nashville career, Hornaday has a Driver Rating of 98.2 (25.1 points lower than Skinner), an Average Running Position of 11.5 (7.7 positions lower than Skinner), a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 68.6% (27.1% lower) and 20 Fastest Laps Run (63 fewer).

Wayne’s Words: Tennessee Bound

“The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will make the second of three trips to the state of Tennessee this weekend. In June we competed at Memphis, while this Saturday will mark our ninth visit to Nashville Superspeedway. In a few weeks we’ll be back at the East end of the state for some more short-rack racing at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Nashville is an awesome place to visit. It’s the home of country music and its very fitting that the track is home to the infamous Gibson guitar trophy. Every driver wants this trophy. Only one driver, Johnny Benson, has been able to take more than one home.

“This track is a fast track. Its concrete surface poses a different challenge for crew chiefs.

“Conditions do not change as much as some other places we visit where we practice at one point in the day or qualify at another, or even where we start the race in the afternoon and finish under the lights. Once drivers and crew chiefs agree on a setup, that’s usually it.

“We’re now into the second part of the season and as in seasons past are seeing some great racing. We’ve got Ron Hornaday Jr. making history with four wins in a row. A Nashville win has eluded him, so it will be interesting to see if he can make that five wins in a row.

“We have some young, up-and-coming drivers like Brian Scott, Colin Braun, and Tayler Malsam who are really showing some talent, so maybe they’ll be the ones rockin’ in Victory Lane this weekend.”
- Wayne Auton, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Director

Rookie Battle

Raybestos Rookie Of The Year Standings

Rk  Driver                  Points
1.   Tayler Malsam       143
2.   Johnny Sauter       135
3.   James Buescher    131
4.   Ricky Carmichael    93
5.   Brian Ickler             67
6.   J.R. Fitzpatrick       60
7.   Brent Raymer         45
8.   Chris Jones            45
9.   Chase Austin         16
10. Ryan Hackett           5

Manufacturers’ Standings

Toyota’s lead in the 2009 Manufacturers’ Championship Standings has been narrowed thanks to Ron Hornaday Jr.’s fifth win of the season at ORP. Chevrolet only trails by two points as the series heads to Nashville, the exact spots the two manufacturers held heading into this race last season. They are now tied with six wins so far for this season.

Toyota leads with the most wins at the track with three. Dodge and Ford each have two wins. Chevrolet is the lone manufacturer with only one win, which came with Mike Bliss in 2002, the same year he won the series title.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 2009 Manufacturers' Championship Standings following Race 13 of 25 at O'Reilly Raceway Park:

Toyota:    96
Chevrolet: 94
Ford:        56
Dodge:     40

Get Your Vote In!

Plenty of time remains in the battle for the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Most Popular Driver title but don’t forget to cast your ballot. Polls opened July 6 and over 12,000 votes have been cast. Time runs out Oct. 31.

Johnny Benson took home the honors last year, the first time fans had a hand in the selection process. Visit to vote or to write in your favorite driver. If they’re not among the nominees write to

Fast Facts

Next Race: Toyota Tundra 200

The Place: Nashville Superspeedway

The Date: Sat., August 1, 2009

The Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Race Distance:  200 miles / 150 laps

TV: SPEED, 7:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SIRIUS XM. Listen locally on WNFN-FM 106.7

Track Layout: 1.333-mile Oval

2008 Winner: Johnny Benson

2008 Polesitter: Todd Bodine

Schedule: Friday: Practice, 4 - 5:15 p.m. and  5:45 - 7 p.m.; Saturday: Qualifying, 2:15 p.m.

2009 Standings
Rk Driver                  Points
1   Ron Hornaday Jr.  2,098
2   Mike Skinner        1,924
3   Matt Crafton         1,922
4   Todd Bodine         1,803
5   David Starr           1,758
6   Brian Scott           1,750
7   Tayler Malsam      1,693
8   Dennis Setzer       1,673
9   Terry Cook           1,657
10 Colin Braun           1,639

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.