Late race incindent spoils solid run for Hornaday at Talladega
Ron Hornaday approached the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway looking to improve on his 2011 finish at the 2.66-mile track by just one position. In the 2011 edition of the 250-mile event, Hornaday pushed teammate Mike Wallace to the victory and brought home a second-place finish for himself. Although he was able to push both Jason White and James Buescher to the lead early in the event, Hornaday was not able to capture his first win at the series' largest venue as a cut tire in the closing stages of the event relegated the No. 9 Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet to a 28th-place finish.
Joe Denette Motorsports (JDM) welcomed Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup back on board the No. 9 Chevrolet for their sixth race of the 2012 season as primary sponsor. The event marked the 18th race on the 22-race NCWTS schedule and marked Hornaday's 318th series start.
In the series' only two-hour practice session on Friday morning Hornaday posted the 5th-fastest time early on in a single truck run. After the JDM crew made adjustments to the Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet for Hornaday to get the truck closer to the track, they made another mock qualifying run and bested his previous lap time by seven tenths of a second. After drafting with other trucks later in the session, Hornaday was 21st on the charts at the conclusion of final practice with a lap of 51.954 (184.317 mph).
Hornaday was the 17th qualifier in the fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola qualifying on Friday evening. A fast lap of 54.654 (175.211 mph) put Hornaday second on the charts initially and lined the No. 9 Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet up 10th, on the outside of the fifth row, for the sixth annual event after the remainder of the field took time.
When the green flag dropped on the 94-lap fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola, Hornaday put his Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet to work and advanced three positions on the start, up to seventh. It was only a few laps later, on lap nine, that Hornaday gave Jason White just the drafting help he needed to be propelled to the lead with Hornaday in tow.
When the first caution of the night fell at lap 16, crew chief Terry "Richie" Snyder called Hornaday to pit road for fuel only, a strategic move made in an effort to require one less stop for fuel than the rest of the field at the end of the 250-mile event. Hornaday was scored sixth when the field retook the green flag at lap 18.
Back under the green flag, Hornaday quickly found a drafting partner in the No. 31 Chevrolet of James Buescher. The two teamed up and made a march toward the front. Hornaday pushed Buescher to the top spot at lap 22 and the duo paced the field for ten laps until lap 32 before the second caution of the night waved at lap 33. Hornaday reported the No. 9 Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet was a little free. Snyder once again brought Hornaday back to pit road to the attention of his JDM pit crew for fresh right side tires and fuel. Hornaday restarted from the seventh position when the field went back green at lap 36.
Hornaday fell back to the 12th-position after the restart and was back working with the No. 31 of Buescher trying to get to the preferred line when the third caution of the afternoon flew at lap 47 for an accident on the backstretch. Hornaday pitted from the eighth position for fuel only under the yellow-flag period. When the field restarted at lap 51, Hornaday was scored in the seventh position.
As the field settled after the restart Hornaday was ninth, in the inside line, and radioed to the crew that he was "ready to move." Unfortunately, the fourth caution of the event flew only a few circuits later at lap 61 for an accident on the front stretch in which the Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup Chevy sustained right side damage as well as a right-front flat tire.
Once on pit road, the JDM crew worked to get the body of the No. 9 machine back in shape for drafting action at Talladega Superspeedway. Hornaday left pit road and rejoined the field but felt a vibration in his Silverado and came back to pit road a second time to check it out. Hornaday restarted from the 20th position when the green flag fell once again at lap 65.
By lap 69, with just 25 laps remaining in the 94-lap event, Hornaday was up to 10th and had a leg up on the field as he had no more scheduled pit stops and the rest of the field would still need to make one more trip to pit road. Five laps later, with just 20 laps remaining in the fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola, Hornaday was up to ninth and once again strategizing with the No. 31 Chevrolet of James Buescher for drafting help.
Unfortunately, Hornaday and Buescher's plan was never able to reach fruition as the Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup No. 9 cut a right-front tire at lap 78, bringing out the fifth caution of the afternoon. Hornaday was forced to come to pit road for four fresh tires. After rejoining the field, Hornaday witnessed smoke coming from the right-front of the No. 9 machine and was forced to make another trip to pit road. Hornaday then restarted from the 24th position at lap 80.
At lap 84, Hornaday brought out the sixth caution of the event when the Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet experienced a flat right-rear tire which caused him to spin through the infield grass. Hornaday brought the No. 9 Chevrolet to pit road for four fresh tires and to add a brace to his damaged machine. After rejoining the field, Hornaday restarted scored 25th with just six laps remaining.
After experiencing another flat right-rear tire when the field went back green, Hornaday was forced to bring his No. 9 machine to pit road under green flag conditions at lap 90.
Unfortunately, Hornaday was unable to rejoin the field for the final laps of the fred's 250 powered by Coca-Cola and relegated to a 28th-place finish when the checkered flag fell on the 94-lap event.
Parker Kligerman claimed his first NCWTS victory followed by Johnny Sauter, James Buescher, Ty Dillon and Timothy Peters.
Ron Hornaday Quotes:
"It's Talladega, but it's unfortunate for everyone on this Joe Denette Motorsports team. We had a really good truck today and just ended up at the wrong place at the wrong time. We were still pretty strong even after the damage but just couldn't seem to get the sheet metal away from the tire and kept having issues. Although a 28th-place finish isn't what we were looking for the truck was good, really good and everyone worked well together under pressure. It's a true testament of what this team is made of and how far we have come. It's been a tough year, but we aren't giving up. We will regroup these two weeks off and come back strong at Martinsville."
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