CONCORD, N.C. – Turn-about is fair play.
When Ron Hornaday Jr. was voted into the 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday, he had glowing words for Kevin and DeLana Harvick, who gave Hornaday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career a major boost by hiring him to drive their trucks.
Kevin Harvick and Hornaday have a long history. When Harvick first ventured to North Carolina to try his hand at the highest levels of stock car racing, Hornaday provided a couch for his fellow Californian to sleep on, as he also did for seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson and more than a handful of other drivers.
Needless to say, when Harvick learned Hornaday had been elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, he was elated.
“I’ve been pulling for Ron the whole time, but you look at all the other names and you’re like, ‘Oh, man, how is he going to beat Bobby Labonte or Alan Kulwicki or Roger Penske or this guy or that guy,’” Harvick told the NASCAR Wire Service on Thursday night after putting his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford on the pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (at 6 p.m. ET on FOX).
Harvick recalled a conversation he had with one of the veterans of the sport on the subject of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Though Harvick wasn’t sure who the particular old-timer was, the subject matter was crystal clear.
“I remember the conversation like it was yesterday because I remember him saying, ‘This is not a NASCAR Premier Series Hall of Fame, this is the NASCAR Hall of Fame,” Harvick said. “And when you think about it that way, and a guy’s got four championships and came along with the start of the series, and changed the complexion of the sport, and drove for one of the icons in our sport in Dale Earnhardt, and started the Truck Series and had his own chassis shop, and raced in all the regional and late model series at every short track across the country…
“And then to have him drive for me and the history that Ron and I have together from a personal standpoint, it’s just neat to see. When you see all that come together—and I saw it this morning—I was like, ‘Man.’ That is just the ultimate compliment to a guy who has given his whole life to building and racing and being a part of it and sacrificed everything that he’s had, been in debt, been upside-down and just helped half the garage get to where they are with giving them cars or letting them sleep on his couch or whatever the case may be.
“And it’s just great to see that happen for him and I’m just proud to be a small part of it, because he’s earned everything that he’s ever gotten his whole life. It’s been neat to see.”