FONTANA — After a three-hour rain delay, former Palmdale resident Ronnie Hornaday III was the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck series driver to make a qualifying attempt on Friday for today's Motorola 200 at California Speedway.
Hornaday, whose father Ron Hornaday Jr. is a two-time Craftsman Truck series champion, clocked 170.495 mph and will start from the 27th position.
"It was a green track," said Hornaday, who ran 24 laps in practice on Thursday. "We never did a qualifying run [Thursday], we worked on our race setup until it started raining.
"I was being extra cautious [Friday], although I drove into the corners deeper than I had all day. I was rolling out of the throttle and rolling into it rather than hitting it aggressively."
Hornaday said the only advice his father gave him was to listen to crew chief Fred Graves, who was crew chief when Hornaday Jr. won his second championship in 1998.
"[Graves] doesn't tell you how to drive," Hornaday said. "He tells you to drive comfortably, but don't overdrive and don't take chances. He told me to do what I did in practice and I would be all right."
Hornaday said his race strategy will be to pick competitors off one at a time, believing that a finish in the top 10 is within reach.
Kurt Busch, 1999 NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour champion, won the pole position at 177.388 mph. NASCAR Winston Cup regular Kenny Schrader qualified 13th at 172.873, NASCAR Winston West points leader Brendan Gaughan of Las Vegas was 16th at 172.096, and NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour points leader Matt Crafton of Tulare was 17th at 172.010.
Phil Geibler of Oxnard was one of two drivers to win a Valvoline Team USA scholarship to contest the four-race Euro Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series in England beginning Nov. 12.
Geibler, 21, a former go-kart racer, competed for the scholarship with seven American drivers at Silverstone, England. Joey Hand, 21, of Sacramento, was the other recipient, chosen based on fastest outright lap times and the best average times for a 10-lap session.
"It is a huge opportunity," Geibler said. "Even just to drive these cars has been fun. It is a good feeling to know people give you a chance to show what you can do, and it is nice to be able to take advantage of that opportunity."
Rolando Quintanilla of Calabasas was 12th fastest in practice for Sunday's Dayton Indy Lights 100, clocking 187.331 mph.
Quintanilla, a student at Pepperdine in his rookie season in the Indy Lights series, made his Indy Lights debut at California Speedway in 1999, and car owner Eric Bachelart is pleased with Quintanilla's performance.
"I really think he has the potential to [finish in the] top five [Sunday]," Bachelart said.
Stephen Price of Van Nuys is among seven members of the fastest pit crew in the CART Series.
Price, 37, is the inside rear tire specialist for Paul Tracy, whose crew won the $50,000 Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge for the second consecutive year.