Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 9/30/14

This weekend, NASCAR racing returns to Rockingham for the first time in nearly a decade.

The Camping World Truck Series will race at the "Rock" on Sunday as a stand-alone event. Due to the lengthy absence of NASCAR from the historic venue, Sunday will mark the first visit to the Rockingham track for almost all of the drivers competiting this weekend.

One driver who is an exception and has experience at the "Rock" is four-time Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr.

Hornaday Jr. has raced at Rockingham in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series during his successful career. I think his experience in running both series' races at Rockingham makes Hornaday a sleeper's pick to lead him to victory lane on Sunday after a tough start to the 2012 season.

One thing Hornaday hopes NASCAR does differently this time around is bringing in a new tire. During a NASCAR teleconference on Tuesday, he he this to say about the need for an improved tire.

"Back in the day, you could go about two laps and then you really had to just manhandle the tires and try to save them and everything... [T]hey still use the asphalt from down there where it still wears the tires out, so you've got to really be patient and control your truck for the whole run and figure out how many sets of tires to get in and see what you've got for the race and plan that out."

Hornaday's knowledge of tire wear and how to run the difficult track will give him more of an advantage than anyone in the field. Hoping to improve his ninth place standing in points, Hornaday should be a threat and gain his first victory of the season this weekend.

When asked about his favorite memories from Rockingham, Hornaday commented, "All I know is it's really fast for the first ten laps, and I just didn't know how to save my tires."

That tells me that tires are going to be a huge factor this weekend, and Hornaday is the man that will know that and have a plan of attack.

One thing Hornaday doesn't feel he has an advantage on is that some of the truck series drivers took to the track in an open test last year at the "Rock." I asked him if he thought his experience should give him an advantage over everyone else at Rockingham, and he said he felt the guys that tested should have the advantage since they've been on the track.

I honestly don't think any of the younger guys in the series have the smarts to save tires and hang around like Hornaday knows is required at Rockingham. The race experience will far outweigh the loss of track time from the test. If he sticks around and uses his past knowledge about the tire situation, then Hornaday Jr. ought to be at least a top-five contender on Sunday.


All quotes were obtained first-hand by the writer.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mariota wins Heisman Trophy

WATCH: Penguins commentator makes poor 'I can't breathe' joke

Would Percy Harvin take pay cut to return to Jets?

Nationals GM disappointed Bryce Harper missed NatsFest

Broncos to place Montee Ball on season-ending IR

Johnny Manziel could have made $8-10 million in college?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Will Muschamp says his only offer came from Auburn

NFL relocation to Los Angeles is gaining steam

Adrian Peterson to consider running in Olympics

Broncos sign CB Chris Harris to five-year extension

Floyd Mayweather wants to fight Manny Pacquiao on May 2

Braxton Miller's father says son will return to Ohio State

WATCH: Brewer gets away with ridiculously long travel

Melvin Gordon wishes he played more in record game

Prospective Las Vegas NHL owner would let fans name team

Will Muschamp already recruiting for Auburn

WATCH: Mavs play keep-away with Marreese Speights' shoe

WATCH: OSU's Sam Thompson throws down awesome dunk

WATCH: Glass shatters during ECHL game, injures fans

Urban Meyer boasts about his Ohio State accomplishments

The five best rookie wide receivers of 2014

Current, former Auburn players react to Will Muschamp hiring

Nick Young after game-winner: I'm rough like Scott toilet paper

Sidney Crosby undergoing tests for the mumps

NASCAR News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

SEE: Announcer's 'I can't breathe' joke

Marcus Mariota wins Heisman Trophy

Muschamp already recruiting at new job

Nats GM 'disappointed' in Bryce Harper

The five best rookie receivers of 2014

NFL relocation to LA looks likely

Peterson thinking about Olympics?

Brett Lawrie makes little girl's day

Braxton Miller returning to OSU?

Adrian Peterson appeal denied

Winners and losers of the Winter Meetings

Key evidence tossed in Hernandez trial

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.