At Iowa Speedway, Ron Hornaday Jr., the most successful Truck driver in its history, is still showing that his age isn't an issue as he led in the closing laps before ending up in second place. Racing for a team that didn't even exist until last season, Hornaday showed everyone that this old man isn't ready yet to be pushed away by age or the new hotshoes of the sport.
Joe Denette Motorsports (JDM) started his team up last year and they really didn't do much for the former lotto-winning owner. Jason White ran the full schedule and was only able to finish 15th in the point standings while garnering just two top fives and five Top 10's. In the meantime, Hornaday was looking for a job after last season due to Kevin Harvick selling off his Truck and Nationwide operations.
Right after the 2011 season ended last November, Hornaday signed with JDM and was also joined by veteran crew chief Jeff Hensley (source - JDM). Although much was expected with the signing of the best Truck driver in NASCAR history, the new team really wasn't expected to battle for wins much less a championship.
But as the 2012 schedule unfolds, it has become more and more apparent that the #9 Chevrolet may be a contender for both wins and championships. Although the calendar says we're in mid-July, the Truck season isn't even halfway yet, so with 13 events still to be run in the Camping World Truck series, there's plenty of time to make a move.
Hornaday came into the Iowa race eighth in points with three Top 10's in the first eight events. A less than scintillating start to the year plus a crash at Dover kept the team off the radar, so to speak. But a decent qualifying spot outside row four and Hornaday's almost infamous restarts had the team in the running the whole night in Newton, Iowa.
As the race wore down, Hornaday made a daring pass down below and was able to finally pass leader Timothy Peters (who eventually won). But another late yellow bunched the field up and in a rare instance, Hornaday didn't get the great start he needed, spinning the tires and ending up second to Peters (points leader).
However, the runner-up finish did move the Palmdale, California, native up to seventh and at only 57 points back; this puts the #9 team realistically in the hunt for a championship.
Hornaday is the series' all-time winner (51 victories) with also more championships (four) than anyone else. He was there at the beginning in 1995 when Dale Earnhardt Sr. hired him and has proven once again that he's more than a credible Truck driver even if some of the drivers he's up against could be his grandchildren.
There's an old saying that was sung by Waylon and Willie (source - YouTube) and describes simply how Hornaday is competitive and even beating these younger guys: "Old age and treachery - Always overcomes youth and skill."
Source - NASCAR, Joe Denette Motorsports
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.