Hornaday To Foyt Almost

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In an exclusive interview with RacingOne.com on Wednesday, Ron Hornaday said he’s nearing a deal that would allow him to move into Winston Cup Series competition for the 2001 season, replacing Rick Mast in the No. 14 A.J. Foyt-owned Pontiac.

Hornaday, a former Craftsman Truck Series champion who is currently a rookie in the Busch Series, was left looking for a ride after current team owner Dale Earnhardt dropped his Busch Series program and put Michael Waltrip in a third Winston Cup team for next year.

But now with the No. 14 Winston Cup ride looking like it's a done deal, Hornaday has earned the respect and opportunity of another legendary motorsports figure.

"Right now, I think it's going to happen," Hornaday says. "I really feel for Rick Mast because he's done a real good job over there. I don't even know how they approached me about this deal. If it works out -- we haven't signed a contract or anything -- that would be great because A.J. is a great person. I've driven for Dale Earnhardt - who's a hero of NASCAR - and A.J. Foyt is the hero of every kind of racing there is. A.J. is definitely a legend in Indy cars, Daytona and Indianapolis. Wherever he's raced at, he's won.

"So (the opportunity) would be exciting, now I hope to get the opportunity. If it works out right, I might be able to race for A.J. We haven't signed anything, and I've been doing some discussing with a lot of other people. Now it looks like if we can get everything written down, it'll look good."

While many considered Hornaday the natural frontrunner at Dale Earnhardt Inc. for a future Cup ride, he says he harbors no bad feelings about the hand he was dealt.

"You don't blame nobody for it," Hornaday says. "It was just a decision they had to make. Dale and (wife) Teresa gave me a great opportunity to move my family out here, and they gave me six years of good racing."

In fact, Hornaday still considers Earnhardt to be one of his best friends.

"This might even make us stronger," Hornaday says. "With him being a boss and all that stuff, you're afraid to says things and do things. This will bring Dale and me closer because he's a racer and I'm a racer. It was a business decision. I've never been fired from a job my whole life, and I don't even know that you'd call it getting fired or not. Michael and Dale had been buddies for a long time and it just worked out."

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