WIN Series Presents: Lindy Hornaday

Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Entrepreneur

“It’s Been Quite a Ride”

Being from a racing family, Lindy Hornaday has experienced NASCAR at its best and at its worst. But no matter the situation she and husband, four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, Ron Hornaday Jr., have endured it all as a team.
grandkids 001
Ron and Lindy’s Grandbabies
Lacey, Viktoria, Slater, Lily, and Maddie 
Younger Years
As a young girl, Lindy aspired to be an artist. She loved to paint and dreamt of writing children’s books among many other things. When she was 15-1/2 yrs old she decided to apply for a job, her first job was at a local floral shop. It was a job she felt would allow her to show her creative side.

Lindy is a very creative woman who lets nothing stop her. She tells us about her family, youth, career and the beautiful connection that they all share as a family.

Our chat provided me with a great picture of the woman that we all know as Lindy Hornaday. She is a mother of two and a grandmother of five, but there is much more to this complicated yet easy going woman.

A conversation with Lindy 

LB: So where were you born and raised?
Hornaday: I was born and raised in Newhall, California which is now it goes by Valencia or Santa Valley. But it was Newhall when I was born, when I lived there.

Lindy and Ron with their children and grandchildren.
LB: Ahh, so your a California girl!
Hornaday: Yes, lived there most of my life.

LB: Where do you currently live?
Hornaday: We live in Mooresville, NC.

LB: That's right. OK, so when did you move back there?
Hornaday: We moved back here, well Ron moved back here at the end of 1994 and I came out in 1995. I moved out here at the end of '95.

LB: OK, lets just start from the beginning here...when you were growing up, what were your childhood aspirations and dreams? What did you wanna be when you grew up?
Hornaday: I wanted to be was an artist because I paint a lot and I'm very, very crafty. I wanted to write children's books, and I was just very crafty. I've been doing paintings since I was 2. And I'm painting as we speak.

LB: Wow!
Hornaday:  I've always had my hand in crafts and stuff, I wanted to be in the flower business, so my very first job, I was 15 1/2 and I wanted to go work at the flower shop in town and my mom picked me up from school and we went over there and I asked if I could have a job. She said, "honey were not hiring right now." I'm like, OK and I went home bawling to my dad, "she didn't hire me, dad, she wouldn't even hire me!" He goes, "Then you go back there tomorrow." I said, "She doesn't have a job, she doesn't have any openings." He said, "You go back tomorrow and ask for a job again." I went back the next day and asked for a job and she said, "Honey, I told you yesterday we don't have a job." I walked out, bawled all night and my dad says "Go back tomorrow." Well I did that 4 days in a row and I got a job! And I worked there for almost 15 years.

LB: Wow. Perseverance!
Hornaday: Yeah. I did that, then I met Ron which is a whole other story, but I worked in the flower business for a long time. So I was in the artsy crafty thing, I entered a lot of contests, flower designing contests that I  won. Just been very competitive in any kind of thing you can do like in the flower business we would do headdresses out of flowers. I helped on the Rose Bowl one year, floats, then we had our own parade float that we did in Newhall and we won 1st place. It was called, Rose Garden, and it was all roses and it was beautiful. I wish I still had a picture of it. I don't know where those pictures are. I wish I still had a picture of it though.

Well now I don't do paintings, like I don't oil paint or anything like that. I paint on furniture, I don't really do paintings. I have done some paintings for customers on windows and stuff, old windows. I paint kind of on the Thomas Kinkade kinda look, that cascade flower kind of look. I don't do it often because it's kind of too repetitive for me. I'm not real good with repetitive kind of things. But I'm more into doing flowers on furniture, on walls. I don't know how to stencil, so I start out with a stencil one time then I hand paint everything, I just can't use a stencil but I can hand paint all day long.

LB: OK, lets see....which came first then, NASCAR or Ron?
Hornaday: Well, our dads raced against each other. We are the for real Hatfields and McCoys! Like for real. We had a shotgun wedding and I mean for real. Our dads hated each other. They hated each other!!

LB:  I hate to say this but that's so cool though, to actually hear about the history of your families!
Hornaday: Well what happened was, I met Ron, I knew the name. Ron and I grew up at the same race track. Because my dad raced and his dad raced but I never knew who he was and he didn't know who I was and I met him one night after the race.

Everybody used to go to different peoples houses, different people we hung out with at the speedway and that's where I met Ron. I went home and I told my mom, "Guess who I'm going out with next Saturday?" She asked who. I said, "Ron Hornaday Jr." She said, "Oh no you're not." I asked why. She said, "You cant get involved with that family. That family is awful." And I'm like why? But of course that makes so I want to go out with him.

And so we went out and I got pregnant. And that wasn't a happy day when we had to tell our parents because they were furious. and of course in those days you got married. There was no choice, you got married. We had 450 people at our wedding and there was a line right down the middle.

LB: Oh my gosh, so how old were you then?
Hornaday: I was 19. We were both 19 because we are the same age. He was born in June and I was born in September.

So my dad, well there's a whole other story about the shotgun and everything. There was a shotgun involved.

LB: There was a shotgun involved? Can’t wait to hear this!

Hornaday: Yes there was. My dad told Ron to meet him in his shop. My dad owned a muffler business in Newhall and he asked Ron to meet him at the shop and Ron was all excited. He goes up there and my dad was sitting at the front counter (my dads shop was real little in the office) and he says, "I'll be right with you Hornaday".

He goes and closes up the shop, locks the front door, comes up behind the counter and he puts a shotgun on the counter and Ron just looked at him. Dad says, "Do you love my daughter?" Ron says, "Yes I do sir." Dad then says "Are you going to marry her?"  Ron explained that he was going to be trying to chase his racing dream. Dad says "You got two choices, you either get out of dodge and you never come back or you marry my daughter. Those are the only two choices you got and you're gonna make that decision right now." Ron just looked at him and said "Well I guess I'm gonna marry your daughter."

So, our parents didn't speak one word to each other during 16 years of our marriage. We were down in Phoenix at the end of the year race which was about 1992. Our motorhomes were parked in kind of a compound in Phoenix, everybody comes running down to the pits and say, “You need to get to your pits immediately." We got down there and there was photographers, everybody was there, because our dads were sitting in two lawn chairs talking to each other. And everybody knew the story so it was like, oh my gosh! So they were able to talk after that except about racing because each one thought they were better than the other but they could at least be civil to each other. But it was just a huge, huge deal! Now here we are almost 33 years later, still married.

LB: Well it worked didn't it?
Hornaday: We had a lot of people that took bets at the wedding. if we took all those bets, we'd have a lot of money!
Lindy's favorite picture of her and Ron - after
winning the 2009 NCWTS championship.
LB: You know one of the questions I had was when and where did you marry and what song did you choose for your first dance? But how did the reception go?
Hornaday: It was really good, it was just that Ron and I were the only ones who could cross the line. All of my family stayed on this side and all Ron's family stayed on that side and it's just the way it was. Everybody knew it and everything went alright. It's just that there were rules at the wedding so we didn't have a big brawl.

LB: What was your first dance, your first song then?
Hornaday: Oh my goodness....I have to think about that because I cant remember. I can remember my kids' though. I'll think about it...I'll remember!

LB: How old are your kids now?
Hornaday: I have a son, Ron Hornaday III, he's my oldest. He's 32. And then Candace, my daughter, is 29.

LB: When they were younger, did they travel with you?
Hornaday: Well when we were out in California, we raced on the weekends and then we got into the Southwest Tour which was a traveling circuit. They didn't go with us all the time because my mom and dad had a ranch in California that was completely designed for the kids and they loved going up to grandma and pops, so they spent a lot of time there. But every year we would take them to Eureka. I mean they went to a lot of races with us too but spent a lot of time at grandma and pops too. When we go to Eureka, we'd make a whole weeks vacation out of that. Our vacations had to do with racing.

Then when we moved out here, Candace traveled with us, they were both in high school. Then Ron and I were out at Sears Point, he just qualified the truck and was getting ready to qualify the Winston West car when I got a phone call that my kids had been in a wreck. A head-on collision with a semi and they were in N.C. That was the worst 20 minutes of my entire life, not knowing. Because all I knew was Ronnie had gone to the hospital and was bleeding from his ears and nose.

That's all I knew. Oh my gosh, I'll never forget that day as long as I live. So I flew straight home and Earnhardt had a plane waiting for me at Charlotte and flew me down to Myrtle Beach. I picked up the kids, I pulled them out of school (The Hornaday school because I home schooled them) and they went everywhere with me. I never even let them out of my sight. My poor kids were like, MOTHER! But I took them everywhere with me because it was just awful. That was when Ron had started with the saying, "Live everyday like it's Saturday."

One of the first people we saw when we walked out of the hauler when we found out our kids were alright was Barry Dodson. He came over because he found out about our kids being hurt. He looked at both of us and put his arms on us and said, "I just want you and Lindy to know, you need to live everyday like it's Saturday." And that has been our saying in our life since that day.

LB: Wow, well it works right? It fits. So what do you and Ron do to relax?
Hornaday: We work! (laughs) Well I'll tell you what's most relaxing for Ron is mowing the grass. He mows our grass, all the neighbors grass and anyone else in town that wants their grass mowed. That's how he relaxes. For us to be just sitting around the house, we don't do that. We work all the time.

LB: But you work all the time doing things you enjoy?
Hornaday: Yeah.

Miss Estelle's Place in Morresville, NC - Lindy's store.
LB: So what is your current line of work?
Hornaday: I own a store. I own an antique store, a baby store and a cottage shabby chic store. I also own a linen company and a framing company that's all out of the same building. I have a huge building that started as an antique store and when the economy started turning around, I had to start diversifying.

LB: Do you personally handle any area of Ron's career?
Hornaday: I handle all his fan club stuff. Actually I handle some of it and Candace handles a lot of it. I used to do all of it but when we moved back here it wasn't the same. It was just different back here.

LB: Ron's been involved in some pretty scary wrecks over the years, has there been one that really stands out to you?
Lindy on Raceday
Hornaday: One of the scariest wrecks was recently. The Watkins Glen wreck has been the scariest for me. I think one of the reasons was because I wasn't there. I always go to the race track with Ron. If he goes at 6, I go at 6. We go to Watkins Glen and I said "Ya know what, I'm gonna just come a little later because I'm tired. They had to come get me because Ron had flipped his truck and that was awful for me only because I wasn't there. But probably the scariest I was, was when he flipped at Talladega. For one, I didn't know it was him. I saw the No. 3 truck and it scared me. I saw a black truck and all I saw was a No. 3 and then when I turned to look at the guys standing on the wall, they had the strangest look on their face. I said, "Who was that?" They said it was Ron. I thought I was gonna die of a heart attack! He wasn't talking and of course the announcers were making it worse over the intercom and I was mortified over that. That's probably the scariest I've ever been.

LB: Have you ever said that's enough as a result of an accident?
Hornaday: No! The thing is Ron's doing what he loves. In the back of my mind I know there's always a chance. But Ron is doing what he loves. He's living the dream. If that's when God wants him to come home, then that's when it is. I will deal with that if it ever comes about. I don't go to the race track and think, 'Oh please don't do this anymore.' It's just, we have to live every day like it's Saturday. This is quite a ride we've been on and I wouldn't change the bad parts because all of it makes us into the people we are today.

Ron Hornaday Jr. spent several years behind the wheel for Kevin and DeLana Harvick. The following question was asked before the news was released that KHI would be closing their doors and that Hornaday would be moving to the No. 9 for Joe Denette Motorsports.

LB: How would you describe Ron's relationship with Kevin & DeLana Harvick? The whole having his boss win and racing against his boss? 
Hornaday: We've known Kevin for a long time. He lived at our house for awhile when he first came out here. I think probably the best part of Ron racing for Kevin and all of the owners he's raced with (Ron's been fortunate enough to race for some of the greatest owners and drivers in the sport) The thing I think is the coolest for Ron is that there's no excuses when you get to the shop. They know what’s going on. They feel it, they see it, they know whats going on. They have the same wants. If there having a bad day, lets fix it. If we're winning, we're all winning. Ron doesn't have to go into an owner who's never raced a car before and try to explain. Because Kevin knows, Dale knew, AJ knew, Richard Childress knew. That makes the relationship a lot easier. It's been great racing with Kevin and DeLana. I think one of the proudest moments probably for Ron since he's been racing for Kevin and DeLana is that he was able to bring them their 1st championship and then their 2nd one. But the 1st one when they parked on the back straightway and got out of their cars and hugged. That is one of the coolest moments working with Kevin and DeLana. Ron was able to say thank you Kevin and Kevin was able to say thank you Ron!

LB: What was it like having your husband work for Dale Earnhardt? How was KHI different from DEI?
Hornaday: Well working for Dale Earnhardt, the greatest driver ever in NASCAR. I don't know what was different, I mean Dale Earnhardt is Dale Earnhardt but it is kinda the same. Dale was starting a new truck team and Ron was able to bring him a championship and put DEI on the map for the truck series. That put a lot of notoriety to DEI and then he did the exact same thing with Kevin so in that sense it's kinda the same. Dale was a racer like Ron. Kevin is a hard racer like Ron. They drive by the seat of their pants. People think their too aggressive. I hate when people say that because Ron drives every lap like its the last lap because that's the kind of driver he is. It's all about getting to the checkered flag first. Dale was the same way and Kevin is the same way. It's about the hunger for the win. Tony Stewart is another driver that's the same way. It's all about being the first one to that checkered flag.

LB: At the tender young age of 53 Ron's career has been in the trucks for the most part where he continues to be a contender, so does he have a goal or is he just racing?
Hornaday: No, he wants to win another championship. He wants to win more races. He wants to keep adding on to what he's done. He's happy in the trucks. Ron likes the trucks because its still about racing the trucks. They race every lap because the races are shorter. You don't have 400 laps to keep tuning on your car. You have 200 laps or 100 laps so you have to get the job done at the beginning. I like the trucks. Ron likes the trucks. Do I think it's easier in the trucks? Absolutely not. It's very competitive. I mean look we have different winners every single week.

toddlindyjanetLB: Whats a normal day for you?
Hornaday: I get up, go out on the back porch, look at the lake and kinda gather my thoughts. I get dressed and go to work. I work all day till about 5 or 5:30. I come home and if its hot I jump in the pool and he jumps in the pool. Sometimes we go out to dinner on the lake. When I'm home I'm usually working at my store. And Ron will go out to eat lunch with his friends around here. He'll mow the grass or he'll be out helping my dad. My dad lives down the street and he has a shop and Ron helps my dad out. My dad and Ron are very, very close.

LB: That's kind of amazing with the whole Hatfield and McCoy thing!
Hornaday: I know. With my dad, Ron is his boy! He loves Ron. So Ron will hang out with my dad or if someone in town needs something done. We have the greatest group of friends around here. He's actually working with Ted Musgrave right now. He is like an identical match to Ron. They are like two peas in a pod. They're both really hard workers. Ron's on the bobcat and Ted's in the scoop trimming trees. Ron yells, "Hey Ted, do I owe you anything from the racetrack?' (As he's got Ted all the way up in the air) (Laughs) He's jerking the bucket on him and stuff. (laughs) I mean these 2, they don't even have to talk. They can read each others minds. They know what each others thinking and they just do it. It's incredible. So we've really had a lot of fun over here with Debbie and Ted.

LB: OK, were coming to the end here where I ask for your favorites. What's your favorite music?
Hornaday: My favorite music is rock n roll and country.
Your favorite food?
Hornaday: Hot dogs
Your favorite movie?
Hornaday: My favorite movie is...well I have a couple of favorites. Gone with the Wind is my ultimate favorite and the Wizard of Oz.
Your favorite track for shopping?
Hornaday: I got 2 favorites. Michigan because I love the antique stores and Texas. They got a mall in Texas and I just love that mall. And of course any track that has a casino!
Your favorite track for food?
Hornaday: dogs!

I want to thank Lindy for her time and patience in waiting for this interview to be published.

The WIN Series is exclusive to Skirts and Scuffs and was created by Lindi Bess. The first original column to the site, a niche that Lindi felt was missing in NASCAR coverage. Bringing our readers interviews with some of NASCAR's most notable females such as Samantha Busch, Kim Wallace, DeLana Harvick and many more. If you've missed any of Lindi's Interview's, just click here. Lindi can also be contacted via Twitter for suggestions and comments.
WIN Series Presents: Lindy Hornaday WIN Series Presents: Lindy Hornaday Reviewed by Lindi Bess on Monday, January 30, 2012 Rating: 5