Ron Hornaday Jr., a former Saugus Speedway champ, is preparing for the season opening NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway in Florida tonight. Hornaday is the career leader in Truck Series wins, but he has never won a race at Daytona. He was not a huge fan of racing trucks at the high-banked Daytona superspeedway, but when he got the opportunity to race one of Rick Hendrick’s trucks at Daytona, he changed his mind.
“First o f all, when the trucks first came here, I didn’t get a chance to run it,” said Hornaday, who now races for Kevin Harvick Inc., in the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado. “When I heard they were coming down I thought they were nuts -- I thought NASCAR did the stupidest thing they ever did with trucks.”
Hornaday had to wait a year before he could actually get on the Daytona track in a race truck. When he did, it changed his perspective. “What we’re doing today with testing and these new valences on the front is just remarkable of what these trucks do on big tracks,” Hornaday said. “I’m just really fortunate enoug h to run a truck here at Daytona.”
It would mean a lot for Hornaday to win a race at Daytona, not only for his statistics, but for his family. His father, Ron Hornaday Sr., died in December. The senior Hornaday was a champion NASCAR racer from California, making regular visits to Saugus Speedway when it was part of the Winston West schedule, but never got a chance to race in Daytona.
“This has been my dream to come to Daytona and it’s be en my dad’s dream and I’m going to try to win this race for my dad,” Hornaday said. “This means a lot to our family and to come to Daytona, this is our Super Bowl and I’m looking forward to Friday night’s race.”