Usually in this type of situation, it’s the 20-year-old rookie crashing into the 53-year-old veteran and winner of four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championships.
Not so Thursday night at Kentucky Speedway, as Ron Hornaday Jr.’s truck broke loose to the inside of Cole Whitt’s in turns three and four. The result? Whitt absorbed a shot from the left and lost the third position as his Turn One Racing No. 60 got pushed up and into the wall. It sustained heavy damage to the right side and front.
That incident — the fifth of seven caution periods — came on lap 76. Whitt was forced to make that dreaded left turn behind the wall, Turn One Racing thrashed for a while and Whitt returned to the track 56 laps later. He finished 26th.
“I felt like we were making some strides the right way,” Whitt said. “When we came into this weekend, we weren’t quite right where we needed to be. We had to really work hard to get as fast as we were. Really, as a race team, we’re a top-five, top-three truck. We could race with no problem. Maybe we could’ve gotten up there to contend for the win.”
Still, Whitt remained second in the driver standings despite consecutive finishes of 28th (engine, June 10 at Texas) and Thursday’s 26th. Points leader Johnny Sauter had problems of his own and finished 24th. And then, of course, Hornaday’s misstep and 27th-place showing.
Here’s resetting the Truck Series points: Sauter (347), Whitt (-23), Austin Dillon (-25), James Buescher (-32) and Parker Klingerman (-35). Hornaday got the worse end of the incident with Whitt — he dropped three spots to sixth (-37).
“We had just a few more things to tweak on,” Whitt said. “We were a little loose in the first run, made a change and then a little tight in the second run. We just need to hit that happy medium. I’m sure if we could’ve gotten it right we would’ve been really good.”
Red Bull Racing PR