June 20, 1958
Married, Wife Lindy
Ronnie III, Candice
almdale, California, native Ron Hornaday has had the type of career that most drivers only dream about, and he has no intention of slowing down any time soon. The 50-year-old veteran is a three-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) champion. He has competed in all of NASCAR's three elite divisions, but has found a home in the NCWTS and with Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI).
Hornaday grew up in Southern California and spent his childhood traveling to the local short tracks, watching his father, Ron Sr., win hundreds of races and a NASCAR Winston West championship. He knew that one day he would follow in his father's footsteps. Under the watchful eye of his dad, Hornaday began his career racing motorcycles and go-karts before moving up to stock cars in his late teens.
During his brief NASCAR Winston West career, Hornaday won 17 races and a Most Popular Driver award. He then made his way to the NASCAR Southwest Tour Series, where his success was instant. He won the series' championship and Most Popular Driver award in 1992. At the final race in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway, he became the first driver to win back-to-back titles.
Hornaday's big break to move up into NASCAR's premier divisions came during the Winter Heat Series at Tucson (Ariz.) Raceway Park in 1994. Hornaday dominated the Series with an aggressive style, which caught the eye of seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt.
Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) was forming a Chevrolet team for the newly created NASCAR Truck Series and needed a driver. Hornaday signed on to drive the No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts-sponsored Chevrolet for the 1995 season. He won two Truck Series championships with DEI before moving to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2000. Hornaday won two races in his first year of Nationwide Series competition at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway and O'Reilly (Ind.) Raceway Park and also picked up honors as the Series' Most Popular Driver. Hornaday's success in the Nationwide Series in 2000 landed him a chance to drive for the legendary A.J. Foyt in the 2001 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
After 20 years of short-track racing, his dream of moving to NASCAR's premier division had come true. What should have been the greatest year of his racing career turned out to be his worst. The sport of racing and the entire nation lost a legend when Dale Earnhardt was killed at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. For Hornaday, he had lost his mentor and a great friend. As racing continued that year, Hornaday struggled to produce top finishes for Foyt's young, under-financed team earning one top-five and three top-10 finishes.
Hornaday split with the Foyt team at the end of 2001, landing a temporary ride in the Nationwide Series with car owner Rick Hendrick, filling in for Hendrick's injured son Ricky, after the third race of the 2002 season. He drove in six Nationwide Series events for Hendrick Motorsports. After his final race for Hendrick, Hornaday paired up with Dave Carroll and Carroll Racing for the remainder of 2002 Nationwide Series season.
That year, Hornaday claimed his first Nationwide Series pole at Lowe's (N.C.) Motor Speedway, and earned five top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 30 starts. As a result of another successful season in 2002, legendary car owner Richard Childress hired Hornaday to drive the No. 2 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the Nationwide Series for the 2003 season. Hornaday won at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway and finished third in the season-ending point standings, Hornaday battled for the championship in the closest finish from first to sixth in Nationwide Series history. Hornaday would return to Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in 2004. Again, Hornaday claimed one win at The Milwaukee (Wisc.) Mile and finished fifth in the season-ending point standings and set a series record by finishing 73 races without a DNF.
At the end of 2004, Hornaday and RCR would go their separate ways, which paved the way for Hornaday to reunite with long-time friend Kevin Harvick and sign on to drive the No. 6 Chevrolet Silverado for the newly formed Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) for the 2005 Truck Series season.
Harvick and Hornaday, co-owner and driver respectively, and fellow Californians, each have long racing histories. Their friendship dates back to Harvick's late-model days at Mesa Marin (Calif.) Speedway in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. Harvick, who spent a good part of his first year in North Carolina living on Hornaday's couch, found in Hornaday a driver who could help his young company compete at the front of the field, bring home trophies and make each race exciting.
During the 2005 season, Hornaday immediately proved to be the right fit for KHI. The No. 6 claimed one win at Atlanta Motor Speedway and a pole at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park and finished fourth in the season-ending point standings recording seven top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. Hornaday's trip to victory lane would mark his 27th career Truck Series win. Hornaday was also named Truck Series Most Popular Driver in 2005, a title he had owned once before in 1997, joining Johnny Benson as the only two multiple season winners of the award.
Hornaday would return to the seat of a KHI Chevrolet in 2006, this time the side of his truck bore a new number: 33. Hornaday and team would visit victory lane twice and finish seventh in the point standings scoring eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.
However, the break out year for KHI and the return to dominance for Hornaday would come in 2007 as Rick Ren assumed the role of crew chief for the No. 33 Chevrolet. As Hornaday entered into his third season driving for KHI, he recorded four wins, 13 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes and only finished outside the top 20 one time during the season. Hornaday completed all but three laps the entire year. However, the fight for the series title was a tight battle between he and long-time rival Mike Skinner. Skinner took a 29-point lead going into the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hornaday and the consistent No. 33 team would prevail, finishing seventh to collect Hornaday's third series title and the first for KHI co-owners Kevin and DeLana Harvick.
As fate would have it, the 2008 Truck Series championship battle would mirror the events of 2007 with Hornaday battling Truck Series veteran Johnny Benson. Hornaday would better his 2007 stats winning six events bringing his career total to 39 victories the most of any Truck Series driver. Hornaday recorded 14 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes and recorded a career high five pole awards. The championship battle would once again come down to the last race of the season; Hornaday would again trail but this time by only three points to Benson. With only eight laps remaining a late-race pit stop would mire Hornaday back in traffic. When the checkered flag fell, Hornaday would fall one spot and seven points short of his fourth Truck Series title.
Looking for redemption in 2009, Hornaday and the No. 33 team regrouped from the previous year's disappointment and set their eyes on the ultimate prize: the 2009 Truck Series title. In typical fashion victory lane would elude Hornaday until the spring of the year, winning for the first time in 2009 in May at the series home track Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Hornaday found victory lane five more times in 2009, beginning on his birthday at The Milwaukee Mile in June. Following the win in Wisconsin, Hornaday and the No. 33 team went on an unprecedented streak winning the next four races (Memphis Motorsports Park, Kentucky Speedway, O'Reilly Raceway Park and Nashville Superspeedway). Hornaday became the first Truck Series driver to ever win five consecutive races. He also became the first driver in 38 years to complete this feat, joining Richard Petty and Bobby Allison as only the third driver in NASCAR history to ever win five races in a row. With the five wins, the No. 33 team accumulated over a 200 point lead over Matt Crafton. The team took on a motto of consistency collecting a total of 15 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes over the course of the 2009 season. Going into the second to last race at Phoenix International Raceway the team had to finish 22nd or better in the final two events to clinch the title. As Hornaday's KHI teammate and team co-owner Kevin Harvick visited victory lane, Hornaday's third-place finish solidified his fourth Truck Series title a week early. Hornaday joined Greg Biffle as only the second driver in Truck Series history to clinch the title prior to the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
2010 proved to be more challenging for the champion and his team. The No. 33 found its way to the front but various circumstances took Hornaday out of contention. It took 12 races before Hornaday captured his first win of the season at Lucas Oil Raceway (LOP). In dominating fashion, the driver led 129 of 200 laps on his way to victory lane. The win was his fourth at the .686-mile Indiana track. Hornaday would collect one top-10 and a trio of third-place finishes before finding winner's circle again. In 16 previous starts at the historic Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, victory eluded Hornaday. When the Truck Series returned for its second visit of the 2010 season, Hornaday finally conquered the .526-mile Virginia short track. The win also carried another significance for the driver. Having only 10 tracks on the series' current schedule with no victory, Hornaday was able to take Martinsville off the list and cut his winless tracks down to nine. Hornaday ended the season on a high note with a second-place finish at Homestead. As the final results were tallied, he brought home two wins, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 results, and finished seventh in the point standings.
With the 2010 season behind him, Hornaday is looking to reclaim dominance in 2011, and to put his name in the record books as the Truck Series first five-time champion.