Ron Hornaday Jr., the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series only four-time champion, posted his record-extending 50th victory in the Kentucky 225 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night.
Hornaday, from Palmdale, Calif., is the only active, full-time competitor whose career dates to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ inaugural event at Phoenix International Raceway on Feb. 5, 1995. He won the Keystone Light Pole for that race and collected his first victory two months later at Tucson (Ariz.) Raceway Park.
The 53-year-old Hornaday has won races on 30 different tracks. He is the series’ all-time short track winner with 22 victories and also won three times on road courses. Eleven of his 50 victories came from a pole position start.
Beginning in 1995, when Hornaday drove for Dale Earnhardt Inc., he has won at least once in each of 12 seasons in which he was a full-time competitor and 13 years overall. His most prolific season was 1997 when he won seven times. He has won six or more times in five different seasons. Saturday’s victory was his third of the 2011 season.
Hornaday won championships with DEI in 1996 and 1998 and with Kevin Harvick Inc. in 2007 and 2009. He has ranked among the top five in the points standings eight times.
“Ron has been the heart and soul of the Truck series,” said Kevin Harvick, the owner for 24 of Hornaday’s victories. “Fifty wins is just one more incredible achievement in a career that I’m sure will one day land him in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.”
Hornaday holds series records for most top-five (143) and top-10 (205) finishes. He recently passed Joe Ruttman to claim the most victories – 14, now 15 – by a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver age 50 years or older. Hornaday stands third all-time among series pole winners with 26.
He was voted the series’ Most Popular Driver in 1997 and 2005.
Below is a timeline of Hornaday’s notable victories on his way to 50:
1 – On April 8, 1995, at Tucson Raceway Park, Hornaday wins his first race, the second for the series. It is the first NASCAR national series victory for Dale Earnhardt Inc.
9 – On Aug. 25, 1996, at Watkins Glen International, Hornaday completes a sweep of all three road courses scheduled to date. He previously won at Heartland Park Topeka and Infineon Raceway.
10 – On Sept. 8, 1996, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Hornaday goes from sixth to first on the final lap, the only lap he led.
12 – On June 21, 1997, at Bristol Motor Speedway, Hornaday becomes the final driver to lead every lap – 200 – of a NASCAR Camping World Truck race.
25 – On April 3, 1999, at Evergreen Speedway, Hornaday wins the series’ 100th race and a $100,000 bonus posted by then series sponsor Craftsman for an eligible winner having competed in all 99 previous events. The victory is his last in the series for Dale Earnhardt Inc.
27 – On March 18, at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hornaday edges Bobby Labonte by 0.008 seconds in the series’ then-closest finish on a superspeedway.
35 – On June 6, 2008, at Texas Motor Speedway, Hornaday breaks a 10-race winless drought at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. He returns in November to complete a season sweep at the Ft. Worth track.
36 – On June 28, 2008 at Memphis Motorsports Park, Hornaday scores the first of 14 victories at the age of 50 years or older.
45 – On Aug. 1, 2009, at Nashville Superspeedway, Hornaday completes a string of five consecutive victories that began at The Milwaukee Mile and continued at Memphis Motorsports Park, Kentucky Speedway and Lucas Oil Raceway. He is the first national series driver to post such a streak since 1971.
47 – On Oct. 23, 2010, Hornaday, the series’ leading short track winner, is finally a winner in his 17th trip to Martinsville Speedway.
49 – On Sept. 2, 2011, at Atlanta Motor Speedway, wins for the 14th time past the age of 50 breaking a record he’d shared with Joe Ruttman for the most wins past 50 in a single national series.