KHI Sends Four Trucks to Nashville

Ron Hornaday KHI

Ron Hornaday leads a quartet of KHI drivers to Nashville Superspeedway. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) has arrived at Nashville Superspeedway this weekend with hopes of reversing Toyota’s recent run of success on the 1.333-mile concrete oval.

The organization has a fleet of four Chevrolets entered in Friday’s Bully Hill Vineyards 200 Camping World Truck Series race.  Cale Gale, Ron Hornaday, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Elliott Sadler are among 41 drivers on the entry list for the fifth race of the 2011 season.

Toyota has won five of the last seven stops on the Tennessee oval, including a season sweep in 2010 – with Kyle Busch victorious in April and Todd Bodine in August.  Strength in numbers for KHI may swing the odds in its favor of having a different manufacturer showing up in Victory Lane Friday night.

“I think we’re capable of having a very good weekend in Nashville,” said Piquet, driver of the No. 8 Qualcomm-Autotrac Chevrolet.  “We’ve been qualifying well the last few races and we’ve been able to run up-front.  The goal is to put together a good weekend from start to finish … good practice times, a good starting position and a good finish.”

Piquet has started ninth in each of his last two races but has not been able to close the deal, getting swept up in accidents at Darlington Raceway and Martinsville Speedway which produced sub-par finishes.  Through the first four races of the year, he’s 25th in the Truck Series standings and looking to get his season headed in the right direction.

“Once again, we’re going to a track I’ve never raced on so it’s very important that I get up to speed quickly in practice,” Piquet said.  “Last season, I did quite well on the intermediate tracks.”

Short tracks were Hornaday’s strength last year, with his two wins coming at Indianapolis and Martinsville.  But he is a former winner at Nashville Superspeedway, claiming victory in 2009 en route to his fourth championship.  Hornaday’s Music City win that year was the final victory in his eye-popping five-race winning streak.

“Everyone puts a little more effort into the races at Nashville because we all want to take the Gibson Guitar home,” Hornaday said of the track’s unique winner’s trophy.  “And Nashville is one of those tracks where the Cup drivers don’t have an advantage over us.  With the exception of Kyle Busch last spring, you usually have a full-time Truck Series driver in Victory Lane.”

Hornaday is in the thick of the early-season championship battle, holding fifth place in the Camping World Truck Series standings – just nine points behind leader Johnny Sauter.  After a 28th-place finish in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, Hornaday has strung together three straight top fives.

Gale is wheeling the No. 2 KHI Chevrolet at Nashville.  That truck has been driven by Harvick, Sadler and Clint Bowyer in the first four races this season – with a best finish of second by Bowyer in February at Phoenix International Raceway.

Sadler has moved over to a fourth KHI entry for the weekend, the No. 21 Chevrolet which has funding from race sponsor Bully Hill Vineyards.  It’ll be Sadler’s first race on the Nashville oval and he’s doing double duty – also running a KHI Chevrolet in Saturday’s Nationwide Series 300.

Camping World Truck Series teams hit the track for opening practice Friday at 11 a.m. (EDT) with qualifying at 5:10.  Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR” – will have live coverage of Friday’s Bully Hill Vineyards 200 beginning at 7:45 p.m.  The broadcast, to be anchored by Eli Gold and Mike Bagley, can be heard on MRN’s network of affiliates as well as SiriusXM NASCAR Radio/Channel 128.

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