Penske Racing Trio Solidly in Top-35 Owner Points

April 28, 2008

TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 27, 2008) - On Sunday, Penske Racing drivers Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish Jr. and Kurt Busch finished 8th, 35th and 39th respectively in the Aaron's 499 at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. 

Newman's No. 12 Alltel Dodge started 21st in the event and had an impressive run, positioning himself to make a run for the lead in hopes of repeating his Daytona 500 victory.  As the race wound down, he moved to the track's high side, but without a drafting partner, Newman was shuffled back to the eighth spot, where he remained after a last-lap caution flag waved.  This was the second top-ten finish for the No. 12 Alltel Dodge at a restrictor plate track this season and fourth top-ten of 2008.

"I think we had a top-five car, but we were just at the wrong place at the wrong time there at the end," said Newman, who was up to third place with two laps to go in the race. "I knew the move I wanted to make, but when I made it no one went with me. We just didn't get the chance to try it again because of the caution on the final lap.

"It's not the finish we wanted, but overall it was a good points day for the Alltel Dodge."

With nine races completed in the 2008 NASCAR Cup Series season, the 2008 Daytona 500 champion is 11th in the 2008 NASCAR Cup driver point standings, 285 points behind leader Jeff Burton.

Hornish Jr. started the Aaron's 499 from the 37th position.  Despite a blown right-front tire and engine trouble, Hornish Jr. brought his No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge home to a 35th place finish in his first NASCAR Cup Series start at Talladega. The result was enough to maintain position in the top-35 in the 2008 NASCAR Cup owner point standings.  

"We had a pretty decent car and were running well at the start of the race," said Hornish Jr. after the Aaron's 499 concluded. "We unfortunately blew a tire and then had something happen to the engine but we were able to finish the race. It wasn't the day we hoped we would have but we will just keep moving forward."

No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch fought back from a continuous vibration and made up a lost lap only to get caught up in a late-race multi-car crash, relegating him to a 39th place finish at Talladega.

"After a few cautions bunched the field back up, we were fortunate enough to be able to hang in the lead draft and get the ‘Lucky Dog' to get back in the mix," Busch said after the race.  "Then unfortunately, they got to dicing it up really close - too close - and we got caught up in the ‘big one' here today.  It looked like the 20 (Tony Stewart) car tried to go for a hole that closed and clipped the 43 car (Bobby Labonte) and that triggered the crash.  Labonte came back up the track and pinned me against the 01 car (Ragan Smith) and they just stacked up all around.

"It was another bad day for the Miller Lite Dodge and that's about all you can say," Busch continued.  "This was a race where we had high hopes to do really well and things just didn't turn out that way.  It's very disappointing."

Busch started the race from the 23rd spot and with the disappointing finish fell four spots to 20th in the driver point standings, 126 points behind Montoya, who holds down the 12th spot, the cutoff position for the "Chase" for the NASCAR championship.

The Penske Racing trio returns to action on Saturday night, May 3, at Richmond International Raceway. The Crown Royal presents the Dan Lowry 400 will air live on FOX at 7 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on MRN Radio at 7:30 p.m. EDT.