Hornish Captures Eighth-Place Finish at New Hampshire

June 28, 2009

LOUDON, N. H. (June 28, 2009) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Penske Truck Rental/AAA Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished eighth in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday. The result marked the fourth top-10 finish for Hornish this season.

Hornish lined up in the 26th starting position after qualifying was cancelled due to inclement weather on Friday and the field was set by points. As the field approached the green flag, NASCAR announced a “competition caution” due persistent weekend rain showers. Despite a series of early race cautions, the AAA/Penske Truck Rental Dodge team opted not to make a pit stop until NASCAR displayed the competition yellow flag on lap 45.

As he prepared to come to pit road, Hornish reported that the AAA/Penske Truck Rental Dodge was tight-handling on the exit of the corners. On lap 47, Hornish pitted for right-side tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. With other teams employing the same pit strategy, Hornish restarted the race in 21st place.

By lap 100, Hornish had raced his way into 13th place. He relayed to the team that the No. 77 Dodge was loose-handling entering the corners and tight from the center through the exit of the turns. As the first round of green flag pit stops began near lap 120, Hornish moved up to eighth in the running order before pitting for four tires, fuel, air pressure and wedge adjustments. When pit stops cycled through, he was posted in 14th place.

The caution flag waved once again at the midpoint of the race, with Hornish running in the 14th spot. He came to pit road on lap 153 for right-side tires, fuel, air pressure and wedge adjustments. Hornish restarted in 11th place.

On lap 169, Hornish avoided involvement in a multi-car accident. The No. 77 team opted not to pit during the yellow flag period, and remained on track during subsequent cautions, advancing into the fourth position by lap 189.

When the second round of green flag pit stops began, Hornish pitted with the leaders on lap 235 for four tires and fuel. As pit stops cycled through, Hornish was running 11th, with a pack of cars on a different pit cycle in the race lead. Working his way into eighth place, Hornish was poised for a top-five finish when rain began to fall on lap 267. Racing action was not able to resume and Hornish finished in eighth place after the event was ruled official.

Hornish gained one position and now sits 25th in the 2009 driver point standings, 109 points out of 20th place.

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and David Stremme finished the race in third place and 28th place, respectively.

“We had a really good car today. The AAA/Penske Truck Rental Dodge ran real well,” said Hornish. ‘It’s just unfortunate we didn’t get to finish the race. I’m real proud of all the guys working on the car. We need to keep going out there and getting top fives and top 10s. Then we can win races.  We’ll keep working away at it. I’m really happy with what Penske Racing has been able to do this year. I think we’re going to have some real good days coming up here.”

Hornish and the No. 77 team head to Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday, July 4, 2009. Racing action will air live on the TNT television network beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on MRN Radio starting at 7:15 p.m. EDT.