Hornish Finishes Rain-Shortened Coca-Cola 600 in 16th Place

May 26, 2009

CONCORD, N.C. (May 25, 2009) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 in 16th place on Monday.

After the scheduled 600-mile endurance race was moved to Memorial Day due to rain at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Sunday, Hornish and the Mobil 1 team lined up in the 26th starting spot. They set themselves to the task of another strong run at the 1.5-mile quad-oval, the site of Hornish’s first NASCAR win last weekend in the Sprint Showdown.

Despite early race cautions, the Mobil 1 team did not pit until NASCAR displayed a scheduled a “competition caution” on lap 40 due to the overnight rain. Hornish was posted in the 21st position and reported that the No. 77 Dodge was loose-handling on the exit and tight on entry of the corners. He came to pit road on lap 42 for four tires, fuel, air pressure and track bar adjustments. Hornish restarted the race in 19th place.

When the first of two red flag periods for rain came out on lap 72, Hornish had raced his way into 15th place. After nearly an hour delay, racing action resumed and the Mobil 1 Dodge posted competitive lap times with Hornish running inside the top-15 when NASCAR once again called a “competition caution” on lap 167.

In a moving display of patriotism for Memorial Day, racing action was stopped at 3 p.m. as drivers, crew members and fans joined all Americans for an act of national unity in remembrance of those who died serving their country.

The restart of the race was briefly delayed due to a passing rain shower, and once it moved through Hornish restarted the race in 18th place. At the midpoint of the scheduled 400-lap event, Hornish was posted in the 17th position and ready to advance to the front of the field.

Hornish was running solidly inside the top-20 while cloudy skies remained overhead. When the caution flag waved on lap 222 for rain, the Mobil 1 team discussed pit strategy and decided to pit for two tires, fuel and a slight track bar adjustment. Hornish was posted in the 17th spot after the pit stops as some teams opted not to pit. The rain shower lingered and, after a two-hour delay, NASCAR declared the race official at lap 227.

Hornish advanced one position to 30th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings and the No. 77 team is now ranked 30th in the current owner standings just 32 points outside of the 25th position.

“Today was a long day and it seemed that the weather did not want to cooperate with us,” said Hornish. “I definitely feel that the Mobil 1 Dodge was better than a 16th-place finish, but it is still a good day for our team. I really enjoy racing here at Charlotte and this No. 77 team has had a good showing over the past two weeks. I am really proud of everyone on this team and we leave here today with our heads held high for what we have accomplished.”

Penske Racing teammates David Stremme and Kurt Busch finished the race in 22nd and 34th place, respectively.

Hornish and the Mobil 1 team head to Dover International Speedway for the Autism Speaks 400 next weekend. Race coverage begins live on the FOX television network at 1:30 p.m. EDT and will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio at 1:15 p.m. EDT.