October 27, 2020

by a NASCAR fanatic - not affiliated with NASCAR

A reader sent me a message this morning, wondering how it was that Ron Hornaday Jr. was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 ahead of Alan Kulwicki.

The short answer is simple: Hornaday absolutely belongs. It’s the NASCAR Hall of Fame, not the Monster Energy Cup Series Hall of Fame.

The Hall already has NASCAR XFINITY and Modified Series racers in and given that Hornaday is the greatest NASCAR Camping Truck Series driver of all-time, he needs to be in the Hall, too.

How good is Hornaday?

Well, he holds the series records for championships (4), race victories (51) top fives (158) and top 10s (234). In 2009, Hornaday won five consecutive races, making him one of only four drivers in NASCAR national series history to win that many in a row.

By any objective measure, Hornaday unquestionably belongs.

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But there’s a subjective element to Hornaday, too: Hornaday and his wife Lindy famously opened their home to many aspiring young racers, including future champions Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick, both of whom, like Hornaday, are California natives.

“He and Lindy just had open arms and told me, if you are ever in North Carolina we will give you a place to stay, come stay with us,” said Johnson, who voted for Hornaday. “It wasn’t two or three months later I had an opportunity to come to the East Coast.”

That opportunity was to test a late-model stock car for Hendrick Motorsports.

“I needed a couch to sleep on. I moved in,” Johnson said. “They wouldn’t let me move out. I stayed there for six months until Ron on one of his Harley rides found a home that he thought I could afford and seemed like a good buy and I bought my first house.

“They have been amazing to me and to many others in the sport, not just drivers,” said Johnson. “There are officials walking up and down pit road that have all bunked at his home, crew members from all over the place. … Ron’s contribution to our sport, not only includes the amazing things he did on the track but so many things off the track. I think he is going to be a great fit in the Hall (of Fame) and be very entertaining as the months go by and we are able to induct him.”

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