NASCAR Media Conference
Ron Hornaday, Jr.
July 14, 2009
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today's NASCAR cam video teleconference in advance of Saturday's Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway. Our guest today is Ron Hornaday, Jr., driver of the No. 33 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Ron is joining us from the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. Ron is currently leading the points in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Ron has also won three races in 2009 including the last two races in Milwaukee and Memphis. If Ron were to win this weekend at Kentucky, he would become the first repeat winner at the track and the second Truck Series driver to win three consecutive races in one season.
Ron, let's open it up by talking about your outlook this weekend at Kentucky.
RON HORNADAY, JR.: Taking another new truck there. So optimistic. I mean, I know the track, it's changed. The only fortunate thing we have up at KHI is we already ran a Nationwide race there. Cale broke some shocks for that to make it really work good. I know Rick Ren, Danny Stockman, everybody is going to work real hard on that Longhorn Chevrolet this weekend just to get it over the bumps. That track has started to age. It's going to be a multi-groove race. I'm looking forward to it.
THE MODERATOR: We'll now go to the media for questions.
Q. With all your experience, what do you feel is the toughest thing for drivers in general to be able to compete at this level that you compete at, and what is still toughest for you?
RON HORNADAY, JR.: When the Truck Series started, they called it the stepping grounds to get your feet wet, to learn the radial tires, learn the different tracks, learn the pit stops, to move on to a different series. What the Truck Series has done in the last 15 years, it's made its own identity. Now it's stand alone.
It's just tough to come in there. Just to get to know the racetracks, you can see from some of the racetracks from the first and second year, when you go back there, you see how much you learn about them, learn about the other drivers. That's the biggest thing with Ricky Carmichael, is learning how to drive the other drivers. When you get underneath somebody, different manufacturers, the trucks are maybe tighter or looser. That still is the toughest right now. Rick Ren and everybody at KHI is really working hard to get a different balance I should say with the approved spatial plates that we have to run to get it down the straightaway faster and still have the handling ability.
We're still working hard on it. Just knowing the different racetracks and who to race.
Q. I know you can't count the number of times you've cranked an engine or put on a helmet, but what remains the biggest thrill for you that really hasn't changed?
RON HORNADAY, JR.: Well, I'm fortunate enough to drive for Kevin and Delana. They give me an opportunity to drive fast stuff. I know every time we unload, we have an opportunity to run in the top five if not win the race. That makes me feel good. My kids are growing up now. I don't have to worry about putting shoes on their feet. Now I can just go out there and just have fun racing and go after all them trophies. The NASCAR Truck Series is definitely putting on some beautiful looking trophies. I got that last Elvis trophy, Memphis trophy up there. It's pretty cool.
Q. You mentioned trophies. Mark Martin after a while says they get a little bit invisible. Do they get invisible for you?
RON HORNADAY, JR.: No, not at all. As a matter of fact, I was just up there last night showing some people the room. I'm trying to get my wife, she got me a theater room about 10 years ago. My trophy room is kind of small. It's getting smaller each week. So I'm gonna try to enhance it back into the theater room and go from there.
Q. I had a question about Brian Scott and Tayler Malsam, they are near the top in points. Do you see them continuing to do well this year and having a good future in the Truck Series?
RON HORNADAY, JR.: Yeah, Brian Scott especially. He's a good friend of mine. We hang out a lot together. The way he's racing with one arm, basically I call him the one arm bandit now, he's definitely got the drive, he's got the capability, the team and everything behind him. With his crew chief now believing in his driving style, that's what it takes, is just two people really hooking up together. Then the rest of the team will follow.
They're definitely get that worked out with their team.
Q. How hard do you think it is driving with a broken wrist at a high level?
RON HORNADAY, JR.: I had my appendix out a couple years ago. I got to run a truck race at Gateway. Once you strap in there and you put that seat belt on, you don't think about it until you're running bad. When you start running bad, that's when everything starts hurting. Your wrist hurts, your head, your appendix, whatever it is. But when you've been running as good as he's been running, you don't even notice he's got a broken wrist. They change the cast every week. It's a little flexible. He's actually doing a great job with it. I told him just to keep the cast on, it's the best races he's been running.
Q. I wanted to talk to you about running this weekend at the Kentucky Speedway, the many grooves that track has, racing the Truck Series there in that venue.
RON HORNADAY, JR.: Yeah, that's what we were just talking about, how the track is getting aged now, the bumps are coming into effect. Kentucky is one of them places where they're doing it right. They're not going out there and grinding the bumps and all that. Actually now you have to work on your shock package, you got to work on your spring package, don't take the balance off and everything. It's definitely going to put it in the crew chief and driver's hands. That track has multi-grooves. It puts on one of the best races out there.
Q. Can you dominate at that track as you've done the last two races?
RON HORNADAY, JR.: I sure hope so. I know Rick Ren and Danny Stockman, everybody up there at KHI is working hard to do that. They keep putting new trucks underneath me. Real fortunate the truck I ran the last two weeks, I think it's ran six times and has won four. If we put another truck like them, we're going to keep them, Ricky can have a rest, we just need two good trucks right now.
THE MODERATOR: Ron, I have a couple of questions from our fans via Twitter. What is your favorite track, or which one do you wish we still raced at?
RON HORNADAY, JR.: My favorite track is the one I win at. That's always my answer. I really miss the road courses. Truck Series puts on a great show at every road course we've been to, Topeka, Watkins Glen, Sears Point, now Infineon. It's shows kind of your talent. You turn left and right. Instead of just sitting there following the guys, worrying about aerodynamics, you have to make the truck handle and turn left and right. I really miss the short tracks.
I always thought if it could be like ARCA races a little bit where they go to dirt tracks, different venues of different tracks. NASCAR is doing that. The only thing they're missing is the road courses and dirt tracks.
THE MODERATOR: Do you think you stand a good chance of winning another Camping World Truck Series championship this year?
RON HORNADAY, JR.: Well, we're sure gonna try. We gave that one away last year. Going down into Phoenix, the first lap I wreck with Kyle Busch. He got a good run on the outside, it sucked me around. That's what we were just talking about with Ricky. It's how you drive different people and how the truck reacts different, different manufacturers. My truck got extremely loose. I ended up wrecking half the field doing that.
Johnny ended up having problems when we went to Homestead. Anything can happen. We've already led the points once this year. Had three bad races, blew a tire, had another tire problem the following week. Just as long as we keep living by our mistakes, don't let what happened to us last year, we definitely have a good shot. Kevin and Delana have definitely given us the equipment, all the tools, people, back in my hands, Rick's hands, the whole team. We'll do everything we can. I'd really like my fourth championship. That would be Jack Sprague, something. I've got three. He's got three. Getting the fourth one would really make me feel good.
Q. Cameras can ride with you, fans can't. Can you describe what the cameras can't catch, what the fans might miss but not being able to be in that truck with you?
RON HORNADAY, JR.: Just the smell. If you're down at the racetrack, the smell and the fumes and everything. I really don't like the cameras in my truck because you actually can see everything. When you look out of the window and everything, of what TV packages have now, they're not missing too much, you know.
I think they do a great job. So I don't know what the fans are missing other than the smell, the excitement at the track, meeting us drivers at the track, meeting the fans. Cameras are doing a great job inside it. They're basically showing everything. What did Brendan say, by the way?
Q. He mentioned the speed they probably really can't feel, the heat, the physical thing you have to go through during that time period.
RON HORNADAY, JR.: That may be true. I think it's more mental on myself than physical. The trucks are just handling real well. I'm fortunate enough to drive for Kevin and Delana, given me good equipment. I think it's more mentally, how to race the different drivers. That's what I mainly concentrate on.
THE MODERATOR: Ron, one more fan question from Twitter. Who pulls more tricks on each other, you or Kevin, and what is the best prank?
RON HORNADAY, JR.: I'm not going down that path with Kevin because I know he gets even. Back when we were a little younger, he kind of lived with me, we were racing, stuff like that, we can't do it now, but he's got some pretty good tricks up his sleeve. I won't even play a prankster on him.
THE MODERATOR: Ron, thank you so much for joining us today and, media, we appreciate your participation on today's NASCAR cam teleconference with Ron Hornaday. Good luck this weekend, Ron.
RON HORNADAY, JR.: Thank you.
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