Looking to earn his first-career win at Talladega Superspeedway, Ron Hornaday qualified the No. 9 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet in the sixth position for the 94 lap fred's 250.
Wasting no time, Hornaday hooked up with Chevrolet teammate James Buescher, pushing the tandem to the lead on lap three. Running in the second position, Hornaday opted to stay out under the lap seven caution. The race restarted with Hornaday running second and immediately after returning to green-flag conditions, he found himself battling for position in the middle of three-wide racing.
The race was slowed again on lap 19 and Hornaday pitted for four tires and fuel. The race restarted on lap 24 and by lap 27, the front of the field was single file with Hornaday scored in the fifth position.
Approaching the mid-way point of the race, Hornaday reported to crew chief Bruce Cook that his truck was starting to get loose as the race progressed.
With the race continuing under a long green-flag run, teams began making green-flag pit stops on lap 50. On laps 55 as the field continued to make stops, a truck spun trying to get to pit road bringing out the caution. Hornaday instantly began saving fuel as he had yet to make his scheduled stop. Under the caution, the No. 9 team called Hornaday to pit road for four tires and fuel. The race restarted on lap 60 with Hornaday scored 18th.
Slipping several positions over the next few laps, Hornaday was running 28th when the caution waved on lap 67 for a multi-truck accident. When the race resumed, Hornaday and his team began working on strategies to put themselves in position to contend for the win in the closing laps.
As the laps ticked off and the race closed in on the final laps, Hornaday was lined up in the 15th position when he was caught up in a multi-truck accident with 15 laps to go. The team pitted to repair damage and returned to the track. The race retuned to green-flag conditions, but was again slowed with seven laps remaining in the race. This time, Hornaday was not as lucky as the previous time, sustaining a lot of damage to the No. 9 Chevrolet. With too much damage to continue, the No. 9 Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Chevrolet was forced to the garage and scored 24th at the conclusion of the 94-lap event.
"I was hoping to get my first Talladega Superspeedway win this past weekend. Our Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff Silverado was fast in practice, qualifying and the race. We were able to link up with another Chevy driver and move into the top-two early in the race. After green flag stops and the initial few cautions, our NTS Motorsports team was in the right position to capitalize on a win. Unfortunately, I was caught in a wreck that ended our Talladega race early. I am excited to get back to Martinsville Speedway next week and run as strong as we did there in the Spring.
NTS Motorsports PR