JOLIET, Ill. – You could say Ron Hornaday, Jr. is back. Problem is he never really left.
The 54-year-old Hornaday came within a restart of winning the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway, ultimately finishing second.
The drive was his best since winning his 51st series race last September in Las Vegas and the top finish for the sophomore team of Joe Denette Motorsports.
You might say Hornaday has “hung around” – finishing on the lead lap of eight of nine races. He has scored a top-10 finish in four of his last six starts and stands seventh in the standings.
“It’s a big leap and a big gain for a new operation team,” said Hornaday of his Iowa finish. “That shows a good sign we’re on the right track.”
Hornaday has run three times at Chicagoland Speedway, finishing 10th in September. His best finish, driving for the former Kevin Harvick Inc. organization, is a third in 2010.
Just about every start is some sort of milestone for Hornaday, who won the Keystone Light Pole for the series’ first race in Phoenix in 1995. The American Ethanol 225 at Chicagoland will mark his 310th start, third all-time to Rick Crawford (331) and Terry Cook (314).
By completing 73 laps, the Palmdale, Calif., veteran will reach 50,000 laps run in the NCWTS. That works out to over 52,300 miles – or more than twice around the world.