Hornaday finally conquers Martinsville, wins Grandfather Clock - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Hornaday finally conquers Martinsville, wins Grandfather Clock

By Damien Sordelett

MARTINSVILLE — Ron Hornaday has won the most short track races in the Camping World Truck Series, though, the one track that had eluded him was Martinsville Speedway.

The four-time Truck Series champion picked the perfect time to add to his short track resume, winning Saturday’s Kroger 200 that served as the first race to award the famous Grandfather Clock to the winner.

“I had to be the first one to win that. It’s very special,” Hornaday said in Victory Lane. “This is Martinsville, I won it and got a Grandfather Clock. … I’m pretty manly about things. Here at Martinsville, I had some tears in my eyes.”

During an emotional race following the death of third-place finisher Todd Bodine’s mother late Friday night, Hornaday and Kyle Busch dueled side-by-side for the better part of the final dozen or so laps. The top-three finishers had never won at Martinsville entering the race and they were determined to win in their respective reasons.

Busch’s second-place finish snapped a streak of consecutive victories in races he and Kevin Harvick were both entered to race in the Truck Series dating back to 2008. Hornaday took the lead away from Busch on Lap 196 and a lap prior to the race’s final caution.

“Just got beat,” Busch said.

Bodine, the Truck Series points leader, started the day 24th and with a heavy heart. Using early pit strategy, Bodine worked his way to the lead by Lap 92 and led the following 83 circuits before succumbing to Hornaday and Busch on fresher tires. Bodine still hung strong for the final handful of laps.

“It was a little eventful for us. We knew we had to strategize our way to the front. We had a really good truck, kind of went away a little bit at the end,” an emotional Bodine said in the media center following the race. “To come out of here third was a great day, a good run for us.”

Richmond native Jason White and Aric Almirola finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Grit native Stacy Compton finished eighth after recovering from a late-race accident that took out Danville resident and defending race champion Timothy Peters.

Peters, who was running in fourth at the time, was forced out of the groove on a Lap 164 restart in Turn 1 and while getting back in the groove, was run into by rookie Austin Dillon. The contact shredded Peters’ left rear tire and sent him hard into the Turn 3 wall.

Peters finished a season-worst 34th and fell to seventh in the points standings.

“I got run over from behind and it could have been avoided,” Peters said. “It’s a shame something stupid had to happen.”

Harvick, who finished outside of the top three for the first time this season (15th), still had one of his trucks in Victory Lane at the end of the race. A year after Hornaday easily won the championship, this year had been a struggling for him but the victory at Martinsville certainly soothed the rough patches.

“It’s been a long three weeks at KHI. There’s no hiding how bad we’ve been running,” Hornaday said. “Things had been happening. To come to Martinsville and (win the) Grandfather Clock, we did we meant to do.”

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