Ron Hornaday, making his eighth start at Charlotte Motor Speedway, conserved fuel to finish fifth in the N.C. Education Lottery 200 on Friday night. This was Hornaday's sixth top-five finish in eight starts at the 1.5-mile quad-oval and Joe Denette Motorsports' first top-five finish of the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.
Starting 15th, Hornaday raced inside the top-20 in the opening laps. When the third caution flag was displayed for an accident in turn two, Hornaday brought his Great Play Chevrolet down pit road for fuel only. A number of drivers took four tires and fuel which allowed the No. 9 machine to gain six positions on track. When racing resumed at lap 30, Hornaday was scored ninth.
Hornaday raced competitively inside the top-10 for the next 40 laps until bringing his Great Play Chevrolet down pit road at lap 70 for a scheduled pit stop under green for four tires and fuel.
Unfortunately, the No. 14 machine brought out the fourth caution of the evening on lap 72, and Hornaday was scored one lap down to the race leaders. However, Hornaday along with 10 other drivers who pit prior to this caution would take the wave-around, putting them back on the lead lap in the rear of the field when racing resumed at lap 75.
Restarting 22nd, Hornaday was up to 16th by lap 80, sixth by lap 90 and scored second when the field took the sixth yellow flag of the evening at lap 95. Crew chief, Jeff Hensley made the call to stay out and take a gamble on fuel from this point.
Hornaday maintained his position inside the top-five, while also conserving fuel for the remaining 35 laps to finish fifth behind first-time NCWTS winner, Justin Lofton.
Ron Hornaday Quotes:
"Jeff (Hensley) and the guys did a great job today. We didn't have the best truck when we got here, but they worked hard to get this Great Play Chevrolet in contention for a top-five finish. It's pretty cool for Joe Denette and everyone at Joe Denette Motorsports to get their first top-five finish of the season here tonight. We have been working hard the last five races and have been getting better each week. Thank you to Great Play for stepping-up to support us here tonight, we couldn't do this without support from great partners."
"I guess Brad (Keselowski) is mad at me because I ran into the back of him on the restart, but they stopped and played jack rabbit and someone got into the back of me so I just had to go too. I'm sorry about that, but we are all looking for spots."