Ron Hornaday Jr
Ron Hornaday Jr. is an American former stock racing driver who recorded 590 starts in all three NASCAR national series between 1992 and 2015. He was the most successful in the NASCAR Truck Series, winning four championship titles and becoming the only driver in the history of the Truck Series with four titles.
He was a champion two times with Dale Earnhardt's team in 1996 and 1998, and then two more times with Kevin Harvick's team in 2007 and 2009. In total, Hornaday scored 51 Truck series victories in a career, what puts him to the number 1 place at the all-time winners' list. He added four more wins in the NASCAR Busch Series.
For all his achievements, Ron Hornaday Jr was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2018.
Son of a race car driver
Born in June 1958 in Palmdale, California, as a son of race car driver Ron Hornaday Sr., Ronald Lee Hornaday Jr. started his racing career with go-karts and motorcycles, moving to the stock cars in the late 1980s.
He scored his first success in 1992, winning the Southwest Series championship title as well the award as the Most Popular Driver. He defended Southwest Series title in 1993.
NASCAR Winston Cup Series debut in 1992
Ron Hornaday Jr. made his NASCAR Winston Cup Series debut in 1992. He failed to qualify for the Cup Series race at Phoenix in November 1991 and then made a debut in the NASCAR's premier division in June 1992, driving the #92 Chevrolet for Bob Fisher at Sonoma. He made one more start later that year with the same car at Phoenix.
He appeared at Phoenix in 1993 again, driving the #76 Chevrolet for Spears Motorsport. In 1994, he made two starts in the #76 Chevrolet, at Sonoma and Phoenix.
Parallel to his part-time Cup Series schedule, Hornaday raced in the Winston West Series and finished second in the points in 1994, losing a title to Mike Chase.
Truck Series debut in 1995, first championship title in 1996
Good performances brought him an attention of Dale Earnhardt and, in 1995, Ron Hornaday became a full-time driver of Earnhardt's #16 Chevrolet Silverado in the inaugural season of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. In his first Truck Series season, he won six races and four poles on his way to the third-place finish, behind Mike Skinner and Joe Ruttman.
Next year, sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts, Hornaday won four races and two poles, what was less than in 1995, but he increased the number of top 10 results to 23 and became the Truck Series champion.
Seven wins in 1997, second championship title in 1998
In 1997, despite seven wins in the #16 Chevrolet Silverado, what remained his record for a number of wins in one season, Hornaday finished just fifth in the final points of the Truck Series. The champion was Jack Sprague.
In 1998, Hornaday scored two poles, six wins, and twenty-two top 10 results in 27 races, claiming his second championship title in the Truck Series.
In 1998, Hornaday also made his Busch Series debut, driving for ST Motorsports in four races, finishing best in the 8th place at Pikes Peak International Raceway.
Winning the 100th Truck Series race for the extra prize
In 1999, Hornaday won two Truck Series races, at Phoenix and Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, finishing seventh in the championship points.
The victory at Evergreen Speedway was in the 100th Truck Series race and he was one of four drivers to enter all Truck Series races since series' inception in 1995. The victory earned him an extra prize of $100,000.
The full season in the 2000 NASCAR Busch Series
For season 2000, Hornaday graduated to the NASCAR Busch Series as a full-time driver of Dale Earnhardt's #3 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet.
He won two races, at Nazareth and Indianapolis Raceway Park, finishing fifth in the points and the second-best rookie. He was also voted as the Most Popular Driver.
The full season in the 2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
The long-standing cooperation with Dale Earnhardt ended in 2001 when elected the team moved the #3 car to the Cup Series and hire Michael Waltrip as a driver. Hornaday also progressed to the Cup Series, signing with A.J. Foyt Racing to drive the #14 Conseco Pontiac Grand Prix.
He finished 17th at Daytona 500 and then ninth at Las Vegas, what remained his only top 10 results in 2001. He finished the season just 38th in the points.
During the 2001 season, Hornaday returned to the Busch Series on a part-time basis, running the #11 Chevrolet for HighLine Performance Group in nine races before finishing the year with Curb Agajanian's #43 Chevrolet in three races.
Three more seasons in the Busch Series
In 2002, Hornaday returned full-time to the Busch Series, driving the #5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports and then the #26 Chevrolet for Carroll Racing until the end of the season. He ended a season with a one-off attempt in the Truck Series, winning the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with #11 Xpress Motorsports Chevrolet.
In 2003, Hornaday signed to drive the #2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing in the Busch Series, winning at Nazareth and finishing third in the points. In 2004, he stayed in the #2 RCR Chevrolet, winning at Milwaukee Mile and finishing fourth in the points.
Two Truck Series titles with Kevin Harvick's team
In 2005, Hornaday returned full-time to the Truck Series, signing with Kevin Harvick Incorporated to drive the #6 Chevrolet. He won at Atlanta Motor Speedway and finished fourth in points. In 2006, Hornaday moved to the #33 Chevrolet and scored two wins, finishing seventh in the points.
With sponsorship backing from Camping World, Hornaday captured his third Truck Series title in 2007, winning four races. In 2008, he was a race winner six times but lost a title to Johnny Benson Jr.
After winning six races in 2009, Hornaday captured the historic fourth title in the Truck Series, becoming the first driver to do so. He joined Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, and Jimmie Johnson as the only drivers to win four or more titles in the three major series of NASCAR.
Driving for Kevin Harvick Inc. until the end of 2011
Hornaday stayed for two more seasons with Kevin Harvick Inc. in the Truck Series, winning two races in the #33 Chevrolet in 2010 and two races in 2011. He added two more wins in the #2 Chevrolet and Kentucky and Las Vegas. The victory in the Smith's 350 at Las Vegas was 51st and the last for Hornaday in the Truck Series.
Outside Truck Series, Hornaday made two starts with Kevin Harvick's #33 Chevrolet in the 2010 Nationwide Series and one start with Turner Motorsports' #32 Chevrolet in the 2011 Nationwide Series.
Racing in the Truck Series until the end of 2014
In 2012, Hornaday left Kevin Harvick' team to join Joe Denette Motorsports for the Truck Series season in the #9 Chevrolet. His best result was the second place at Iowa and he finished 13th in the points. Before the 2013 season, the team became NTS Motorsports and Hornaday stayed in the #9 Chevrolet. His best result was the third place at Daytona and Texas.
At 2013 season's finale, he drove the #34 Chevrolet for Turner Scott Motorsports, finishing fifth at Homestead-Miami and 14th in the championship standings. In 2014, he stayed in the #34 TSM Chevrolet, scoring a second place at Eldora as his best result. The team shut down its operations during the season and Hornaday rejoined NTS Motorsports for three races in the #9 Chevrolet. His last Truck Series race in a career was in October at Texas Motor Speedway.
Three DNQs and one start in the 2015 Cup Series season
Hornaday left Truck Series in 2015 but he wasn't ready for a retirement yet. He joined Curtis Key's The Motorsports Group to drive the #30 Chevrolet in the Cup Series. He failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 and then made a start at Atlanta's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, retiring early with gearbox failure.
It turned out to be his last race in a career. He failed to qualify for two more races at Martinsville and Bristol and then parted ways with the team, effectively ending his career.