(July 23, 2010) CLERMONT, Ind.—The back-to-basics approach seems to work for Ron Hornaday Jr. and the No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team.
Hornaday Jr. snapped a 22-race winless streak in the truck series Friday night, winning the AAA Insurance 200 at O'Reilly Raceway Park.
Watched by team owner Kevin Harvick, Hornaday led 129 laps and beat runner-up Kyle Busch by 2.095 seconds for his first victory since Aug. 1 of last year at Nashville Superspeedway.
Hornaday credited crew chief Ernie Cope — who rejoined the truck team while maintaining his crew chief job with the KHI NASCAR Nationwide Series group — with helping turn things around.
"We couldn't do it without Ernie Cope and all these guys on this Chevrolet," Hornaday said. "They worked their guts out, changing the truck after last weekend. It's just a great day. Hopefully it keeps a little bit quiet. It took Ernie to come over here and settle everybody down. The guys were getting a little anxious. We know we've got a winning team. We just had to prove it to them."
What did Cope do for Hornaday?
"We just kind of went back to what we call our basic package," Cope said. "We've had people come in and try to do their own thing. I know everyone wants to make an identity for themselves, but it wasn't working. We had to make changes. We just went back to basics here with Ron and let him drive the truck, don't try to do nothing trick. We just went to basics and let him do his job. You're going to win a lot of races when you do that with Ron Hornaday."
Hornaday chipped in, too, trying to change his luck to get back to the winner's circle.
"I changed my tennis shoes, changed all my luck stuff," Hornaday said. "I just (went) back to my basic (of) come to the racetrack and try to kick butt, and it seems to be working."
The victory was Hornaday's fourth at ORP in 11 starts at the 0.686-mile short track. He led 67 laps in winning the race here in 2009 and has won three of the last four at the facility.
The key moment of the race came on Lap 153, when Hornaday squirted past Busch and polesitter Timothy Peters for the lead in Turns 3 and 4. Busch was trying to pass Peters on the high side but was blocked by Peters, opening the door for Hornaday.
"That's one the things you've got to remember about this place," Busch said. "You can dive-bomb the bottom really fast and pull a slide job on somebody, and he did it so well that I was still stuck behind the 17, so I couldn't even turn back underneath him and do it back to (Hornaday) in the next corner."
Said Hornaday: "Timothy was kind of backing up the corners, so once I got under Kyle, I kind of pinned him back there. We never touched or anything, but that's what you've got to do here at ORP."
Busch finished second after practicing his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Matt Crafton was third, with Johnny Sauter fourth and James Buescher fifth.
Austin Dillon was sixth, with Todd Bodine seventh, Brad Sweet eighth, David Starr ninth and Peters 10th.
Bodine's series points lead grew to 177 over Aric Almirola, who finished 31st after being involved in a Lap 96 accident with Narain Karthikeyan and Mario Gosselin.