Hornaday puts on clinic at Loudon to stretch points lead
Ron Hornaday is at it again. Winning, that is. The ol' man bolstered his points lead in the Craftsman Truck Series after winning his 33rd race Saturday at Loudon, writes John Schwarb.
We're not doing anything we haven't done before, we're just getting the luck on our side. I'd rather be lucky than good any day.
"The hard part about it, nobody wants to talk to you when you're running fifth, and now when you're up front everyone wants to talk to you," said the 1996 and 1998 champion. "It's hard to keep making excuses for what we're doing. We're not doing anything we haven't done before, we're just getting the luck on our side. I'd rather be lucky than good any day."Fine, then he's both right now. Hornaday became the first trucks driver to win twice at New Hampshire, leading 174 laps and winning by a track-record margin of 4.2 seconds. It was his second win in five starts, and in two of the other races he was second. He also led the most laps in three of those races. It's a pendulum swinging between Hornaday and Skinner, who ran a totally respectable third but was disgusted after the race, saying "we just flat-out got our butts whipped." Yet that's how Hornaday and everyone else in the field felt in the early season when the Bill Davis Racing leader ran off three straight wins.Now Hornaday has the advantage, having also finished ahead of Skinner in four of the last five races, with only Skinner's day at Bristol (fourth) being a race where the No. 33 Chevy (sixth) trailed the No. 5 Toyota.Will the pendulum go the other way Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway? Skinner is the defending champion at the 1.5-mile track, and three of his four wins this year have come at tracks of that size or larger. Such intermediate tracks are dominant down the stretch, hosting four of the last seven races."I hope so, we don't want this thing to just slip out from underneath us," Skinner said. "We feel like we're better than we were last year, and we'll have to be." For his part, Hornaday claims to not care where the No. 5 is. He just knows he has to remain one spot better."I haven't looked at [Skinner's] stats, don't really care about his stats, we've just got to keep doing what we know with our Camping World Chevrolet," Hornaday said. "We're going to have to try to run in the top three to win this championship."Or keep winning. That can happen when you're lucky and good.
Setzer replacing Schrader in No. 18 Dodge
With the last six events of the truck schedule run at tracks also hosting Nextel Cup events on the same weekend, Saturday's visit to Las Vegas Motor Speedway marks the last "stand-alone" truck race of the season.
Villeneuve's debut this weekend puts Ryan Mathews out of BDR's third truck. Mathews fared admirably in replacing the suspended Tyler Walker, finishing 18th at Mansfield, Ohio, in his first truck start and going on to collect five top-15 finishes in 12 races with a season-best fourth at Kentucky, where he sat on the pole. ... Second-year Roush Fenway Racing driver Erik Darnell finished second at New Hampshire, his first top-5 since winning at Kansas in the season's fifth race. It was his first race with crew chief Matt Puccia, who had worked with Roush Fenway's No. 50 team. John Quinn moved over to that truck, which finished 16th with T.J. Bell. ... One day before winning his first Nextel Cup race at Loudon, Clint Bowyer had his worst truck finish, crashing out early in 35th. Of the four cars not running at the end of the race, three were piloted by Cup regulars -- Bowyer, Kyle Busch and A.J. Allmendinger.
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