Following a series of strong finishes in the last four races, including the team’s first top-five finish of the season at Charlotte, Hornaday and the No. 9 Anderson’s Maple Syrup team headed to Dover with high hopes of bringing home Joe Denette Motorsports first win. However, an accident on the backstretch at lap 137 resulted in a 27th-place finish for the sophomore team.
After posting the fastest time in the first practice session on Thursday at the 1-mile oval, Hornaday captured his best starting position of 2012, third, for Friday night’s 13th Annual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Dover International Speedway (DIS).
While Mother Nature and pit strategy were the name of the game in the early running of the Lucas Oil 200 at DIS, a mangled mess in a red-flag shortened event was the finished product for Ron Hornaday and his No. 9 Anderson’s Maple Syrup Chevrolet at the “Monster Mile.”
With rain in the area, most teams were racing to the half-way mark, lap 100. Starting third, Hornaday got a slow start and was shuffled back into the top-10 in the opening laps. When the second caution flag was displayed for an accident in turn-two, crew chief Jeff Hensley decided to do what the leaders did not do and come down pit road for four tires and fuel. When racing resumed, the No. 9 Chevrolet was scored 12th.
Ron clicked off positions one-by-one over the next 42 circuits until the fourth caution flag was displayed at lap 69 for a spin in turn-four. Hornaday, scored ninth, brought his Anderson’s Maple Syrup machine down pit road for a chassis adjustment, to help aid in the tight handling condition, four tires and fuel.
Restarting 10th, Hornaday knew there was rain in the area and he had to get back up to the front of the 36-truck field quickly. As the laps started winding down, Hornaday began to move up the leader board. Just past lap 100, Hornaday captured the fourth position, which is where he was scored when the field was brought to a stop on pit road due to rain and a red flag at lap 112.
After a 15 minute red flag the field went back to a yellow flag condition in which Jeff Hensley opted to bring Hornaday down pit road for fuel only. Beating Kevin Harvick off pit road, Hornaday was scored eighth when racing resumed at lap 123.
Just 14 laps later, Hornaday got loose coming out of turn-two and made contact with the No. 6 machine and lost it on the backstretch. The No. 9 Anderson’s Maple Syrup Chevrolet sustained major damage to the nose and was forced behind the wall for repairs.
As Hornaday’s crew worked hard to repair the damage on the nose of the Anderson’s Maple Syrup machine, the skies opened up for a second time, bringing out the second red flag of the evening and ending the 200-lap event early after just 147 circuits. Therefore, the No. 9 machine was unable to get back out on the track and recorded a 27th-place finish behind race winner, Todd Bodine.
Ron Hornaday on his race: “I was really tight prior to that first red flag. We pulled a rubber out of the left rear and the Anderson’s Maple Syrup Chevrolet got tighter, which is un-characteristic. I think we missed the shock package a little bit today. I could run them down and I was just as fast as (Kevin) Harvick, but as soon as I would catch them, I would get aero tight.”
“We were on the inside of Justin Lofton, on old tires, and just got loose, had to chase it up the hill, and it turned me around. When that happens here at Dover, there is nothing you can do. Jeff Hensley and the guys worked really hard to get the Anderson’s Maple Syrup Chevrolet back out to get some points, but it started raining and NASCAR called the race. It’s a shame we had a great truck this weekend, the guys have been working really hard to get them handling better. This finish really hurt us in points, but Texas is a strong track for me and I know we will rebound.”