Truck pilot Hornaday on five-race winning streak entering Bristol

Dave Ongie • Aug 18, 2009 at 12:00 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Ron Hornaday Jr. has completed the drive for five. Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, Hornaday will be on a blitz for six.

“I have been pinching myself,” Hornaday said of his five consecutive wins, a record on the Camping World Truck Series. “I can’t believe we are talking about five in a row, much less six. It’s just pretty cool.”

Hornaday and his entire Kevin Harvick Inc. team have been untouchable of late. But BMS is notorious for putting drivers in situations where they can be touched right into the fence with no warning.

Hornaday is hoping his success at Bristol, where he remains the only two- time winner in series history, puts him in position to keep his streak alive while he extends his points lead.

“I feel pretty good about racing there,” he said. “Things happen so fast, but it is one of my favorite tracks. I have won there twice so I hope we can keep this thing going and end up in Victory Lane at the end of the night.”

Hornaday’s stiffest challenge in tonight’s O’Reilly 200 may come from another veteran driver who has come close to snapping the streak twice already.

Mike Skinner, driver of the No. 5 Toyota for Randy Moss Motorsports, has had his fender up to Hornaday’s bumper on two occasions in the closing laps of two separate races. Skinner was unable to make the pass either time and opted not to wreck Hornaday.

“We could have tarnished that twice, but we chose not to,” Skinner said. “I felt like as good as we were running, we were going to have our turn at the helm.”

Right now, Skinner concedes that Harvick’s organization is head and shoulders above the competition. He said a combination of funding, equipment and teamwork have allowed Hornaday to string together the historic streak.

“I’ll just be honest with you,” Skinner said. “(Crew chief) Rick Ren and Ron have been together for so long now that they can complete each other’s sentences. When things start getting out of hand, they know how to leash it in.

“All the rest of us are working our guts out to catch them. We’ll trip up on something and get it going.”

But Skinner is just one threat to Hornaday. The 51-year-old driver will also have to fend off a hungry group of young racers gunning for a victory on one of the most prestigious tracks on the series.

Brian Scott is among the rising stars in the truck division, and he enters Bristol brimming with confidence.

Scott piloted his No. 16 Toyota into Victory Lane at Dover. He also has run strong at other concrete tracks this season.

The 21-year-old considers Bristol to be “a shrunken-down version of Dover” and is bringing the same truck he won with at the Monster Mile to the World’s Fastest Half-Mile tonight.

Scott expects sparks to fly and hopes he doesn’t get caught up in anything early.

“That’s what makes racing great and makes the truck series great,” Scott said. “You don’t have a long race to overcome when somebody makes you a little frustrated, so you normally just retaliate.

“It makes for an exciting race, or a good wreck at least.”

Scott hopes to be a factor in the final laps and, a decade after the late Dale Earnhardt dumped Bobby Labonte, Scott said all bets will be off if he has a chance to win the race.

“It really summed up the driver (Earnhardt) was, a good driver that did what it took to put his team in Victory Lane,” Scott said. “Hopefully I’ve learned something from him. If I get put in the same situation, I have no qualms about doing something to move somebody and put our team in Victory Lane.”

Visit www.timesnews.net for the most up-to-date coverage of the O’Reilly 200 and UNOH Perfect Storm 150.

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