*Hornaday Wins Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 at Martinsville*
Saturday’s Kroger 200 ran under a cool October sky in Martinsville, but the race was a barn burner. Featuring lead changes between five drivers, the race finished with a green-white-checkered run in which Ron Hornaday proved he’s still the King of Restarts and drove away from Kyle Busch, who finished second. The win is the defending series champion’s second of the season and 47th overall. It was also his first in 17 races at Martinsville.
Series points leader Todd Bodine, racing with a heavy heart after the death of his mother, Carol, on Friday night, finished third after leading the most of any driver in the race. Jason White finished fourth and Aric Almirola rounded out the top five.
Polesitter Kevin Harvick spun twice during the race and brought his bright orange Tide machine home in 15th place. Rookie of the Year favorite Austin Dillon tangled with Harvick late in the race
In the closing laps, Johnny Sauter was black-flagged when his deck lid came off and hung on only by the tethers. The incident was notable because there was a picture of country singer Rodney Adkins on the deck lid, and Adkins’ face was flying behind the truck as it drove around the track.
With his third-place run, Bodine extended his lead over Almirola to 282.
For more coverage of the Kroger 200, be sure to check out Frontstretch.com for a commentary by Bryan Davis Keith on CWTS champions Ron Hornaday and Todd Bodine, who showed exactly why they are champions at Martinsville. Then come back Monday for Beth Lunkenheimer’s race report-she’ll break it all down for you!
*RPM Breaks the Silence*
Richard Petty Motorsports broke a two-day silence after reports of the team’s imminent demise ran rampant on Thursday and Friday. Team Vice President Robbie Loomis spoke briefly to the media on Saturday morning. Most of Loomis’ statement was in appreciation of the help the team has gotten from former driver Kasey Kahne and technical partner Roush Fenway Racing.
“First of all, I appreciate each and every one of your concern over the week covering our story,” Loomis said. “First of all I want to thank Kasey. Kasey did a great job for us. Look at the banners in the shop; a lot of them are there for Kasey. We really wish him well in his new deal. I think that that started a lot of the stir and the speculation through the whole week. But, everyone is working hard and we’re proud of the job the guys have done. They did the seat change on Thursday at the last minute and we’re just looking forward to continuing to 2011 and finishing this year up strong. It’s funny-I’ve heard a lot of things about our relationship with Roush. Roush has been great to us. They have been a great sponsor and a great provider and have worked for us in a lot of different ways to help us. The engine shop side with Doug Yates has been amazing. If there’s been anything I’ve not felt good about, its [that Roush Fenway Racing] had three cars making the Chase and we didn’t. That’s up to us to get our program going. Robbie Reiser and the whole organization has always done everything they could and worked really hard to provide cars for us.”
Loomis said that the team was optimistic about finishing the year and racing in 2011. He also added that Richard Petty, who has been noticeably absent at the track this week, was hoping to be in Martinsville on Sunday and that he has been spending time with his wife Lynda, who has been ill in recent months. “It’s our full intention to go forward,” he said Saturday. “Those things we’ve been working on throughout the week is what do we look like in 2011 and what does our driver line-up look like for the rest of the year since we lost Kasey. I told the guys yesterday, I sat back at lunch and said look, this is no different than running a race when you’re the crew chief. You’re leading the race and all of a sudden you hit a pothole and then you have to figure out what to do and you’ve got to react to it and move forward. That’s what we’re looking forward to doing at Richard Petty Motorsports. You know, a lot of people’s thoughts and prayers will be with Richard. He’s dealing with Lynda and she’s going through some issues and he’s with her and his thoughts are with her. I think we might see Richard up here tomorrow; as you guys know, he usually comes to Martinsville on Sunday, but right now he’s spending a lot of time with Lynda…Like I said before, you’ve heard a lot of speculation about a lot of things. But the thing that gives me confidence is we’ve always had the ability to move forward.”
However, he made one comment that leaves the future open for interpretation, stating, ”We’ll do our best today. I was riding up the road this morning…and I said, you can’t look too far out in the future because today is all we really have, and I think you can apply that to the sport.”