Hornish Wins Showdown, Finishes 16th in All-Star Race

May 17, 2009

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 17, 2009) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, captured one of two competition transfer spots for the Showdown by winning the 40-lap event and securing his first NASCAR victory Saturday night. Hornish advanced into the non-points, million-dollar NASCAR All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as a result of the win Saturday where he earned a 16th-place finish in a field of 21 competitors.

Hornish qualified eighth for the Showdown qualifying race but started from the sixth position after two cars dropped to the rear of the field. Hornish was running in third place at the end of the first of two 20-lap segments. The Mobil 1 team did not make a pit stop during the entire Showdown in order to maintain track position. When the caution flag waved during the second segment on lap 25, Hornish and teammate David Stremme were in the midst of a heated battle for the lead. Hornish was posted in the lead position, where he remained until the checkered flag waved.

Riding the momentum of his impressive finish in the Showdown, Hornish and team were tasked with racing through an impressive All-Star field, which included NASCAR Cup Series race winners, former season champions and previous All-Star Race winners.

Fresh off his first NASCAR win, Hornish and the Mobil 1 team immediately lined up to start the four-segment All-Star Race in 19th place. As the first 50-lap segment of the All-Star Race got underway, Hornish quickly noted that the Mobil 1 machine was tight-handling overall. When the field was required to make a four-tire pit stop on lap 25, Hornish came to pit road for scuffed tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. When pit stops cycled through, he was posted in 15th place. At the end of the first segment, Hornish was 14th and headed to pit road for right side tires only, fuel and a wedge adjustment. The pit road strategy launched the No. 77 into the fourth spot for the start of the 20-lap second segment.

Hornish was able to maintain track position during the second segment, falling slightly to ninth place. Between segments, he pitted for right side tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Hornish started the 20-lap third segment from the 10th spot.

On lap 73, Hornish was involved in a two-car accident in turn 2. He came to pit road for four tires and fuel and the crew reversed the previous wedge adjustment. In an effort to stay on the lead lap of competition, the Mobil 1 team decided to wait to make necessary repairs to the race car during the 10-minute break prior to the 10-lap final segment.

The handling on the Mobil 1 Dodge remained on the tight side during the last segment of the race. Hornish was able to avoid involvement in any of the three cautions that occurred in the final 10 laps. He finished his second All-Star Race in as many years in 16th place.

“I wish we didn’t have to race our way into the All-Star Race again this year, but it feels good,” said Hornish. “I was really happy how everything worked out for us. The Mobil 1 Dodge was excellent tonight, as usual. I love coming here and running at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. It’s been a real fun track for me ever since we came and ran the All-Star Race last year.

“I knew we had a pretty good car in practice. I had a lot of fun racing out there tonight. The car was really good. It was the first time I’ve ever won anything in a stock car, so I was pretty happy about that.”

Penske Racing teammate David Stremme finished third in the Showdown while Kurt Busch finished the All-Star Race in third place.

Hornish and the Mobil 1 team will return to Lowe’s Motor Speedway for Coca-Cola 600, the longest race of the 2008 NASCAR season, next weekend. Race coverage will air live on the FOX television network at 5 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on PRN Radio at 4:30 p.m. EDT.