On Wednesday, it was widely reported that Turner Scott Motorsports had shuttered the No. 30 team of four-time Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. and that Hornaday would miss Sunday’s truck race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Speaking from his home on Friday, Hornaday confirmed he doesn’t plan to race Sunday but said he could return to the No. 30 Chevrolet as soon as the next series race at Chicagoland Speedway in two weeks. Also, contrary to earlier reports, Hornaday said team members who were told Wednesday they had been let go by TSM were called back to the shop and are actively preparing trucks to go race.
Hornaday, who joined Turner Scott ahead of the 2014 season and is fourth in the standings, just 27 points out of the lead, admitted he was surprised when he received calls Wednesday from a NASCAR reporter and his son saying that his No. 30 team had been shut down.
"I called Mr. Turner (TSM co-owner Steve Turner) and he said he couldn’t talk about it, and that’s all I got out of the whole situation other than what’s written and what’s said on the Internet," Hornaday told FOXSports.com on Friday. "So I don’t know."
Initial reports on Wednesday indicated that all three Turner Scott truck teams had folded. Team co-owner Harry Scott Jr. issued a press release on Wednesday night, clarifying that only Hornaday’s team would not make the trip to Canada this weekend.
"From what I understand, somebody got a text saying that Turner Scott will be no longer building trucks, and do not spend more money," Hornaday said. "So in that case they said, ‘Well, employees are money,’ they let ’em leave the shop and that’s how they got everything cleared out in the next couple hours, and then they called them back and said, ‘No, no, we’re not shutting things down. We’re still on schedule with the 31 and 32 (TSM trucks) that have been paid for through the season, and they’re going to be running.’ … That’s all I know. As far as I know, I’m not fired. We’re just missing this race."
Hornaday’s understanding upon joining the organization was that he was never guaranteed the full season in the No. 30, and that his deal was on a race-by-race basis.
"All I know is Rheem was helping support that program," said Hornaday, 56. "They started with four races, they had picked it up to six races, and then they picked it up to 10 races and then they were filling in whatever Mr. Turner didn’t have a sponsor for. Wherever it lies, I know they’ve been big supporters of my racing career. It started up there at Kevin Harvick’s (Kevin Harvick Inc.) and then they supported us down here. And I know Chevrolet’s been supporting it. So whatever happened between those two (Turner and Rheem), hopefully they work it out and we’re racing the next race."
Hornaday says he has yet to seriously explore potential options with other teams, except for reaching out to his 2013 team owner, Bob Newberry, from whom he is still paid.
"I called Mr. Newberry and spoke to him a little bit and that’s about all I’ve done," Hornaday said. "There’s not too many Chevrolet trucks out there, and my whole racing career I’ve been in Chevrolets, and with the support they give me and what they’ve done in my career, I’d be foolish to go to another manufacturer, but you never know. I’m optimistic but in all the years of me racing I’ve never had to chase money and never had to go through things like this. I’ve been fortunate enough to race for Dale Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick and everybody that gave me awesome trucks.
"I thought we were going down the same path (at Turner Scott), so I don’t know what to think about it other than I’ve got to go build some dirt cars for my grandson because that’s probably my next option is going dirt racing with my grandson and making his name."
But Hornaday certainly isn’t ruling out a return to Turner Scott — possibly even as early as later this weekend.
"Who knows?" he said. "The race ain’t ’til Sunday. I could get a plane and fly it out tomorrow and start in the back of the pack. You never know. I’m optimistic."