Hornish Starting 16th in Sunday's GEICO 400

September 15, 2012

JOLIET, Ill. (September 15, 2012) – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Sam Hornish Jr. will start Sunday’s Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway from the 16th position after turning in a lap of 29.793 seconds (181.251 mph) in the qualifying session here today.  It was certainly a dramatic circuit around this 1.5-mile tri-oval speedway for Hornish as the SPEED-TV crew documented him “saving” his Dodge twice in completing the lap.

"It was a handful,” Hornish said back in the garage area after making his run against the clock.  “The Shell-Pennzoil Dodge was really good through (Turns) 1 and 2 and on the back straightaway. The car just got loose a bit and snapped out on me and I had to give the wheel a good tug.  It looks like we'll have a decent starting position. The car was really good in practice yesterday. I could run the car anywhere I wanted on the race track. I'm happy with the car. I just wish I could have gotten a little bit more out I it."

Jimmie Johnson claimed the Coors Light Pole Award here this afternoon with a fast lap of 29.530 seconds (182.865 mph).  Aric Almirola, uniting for his first race with veteran crew chief Todd Parrott calling the shots, claimed the outside-front-row starting spot with his lap of 29.567 seconds (182.636 mph).  Matt Kenseth (29.616 seconds/182.334 mph), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (29.659 seconds/182.070 mph) and Carl Edwards (29.663 seconds/182.045 mph) rounded out today’s top-five qualifiers.

Kasey Kahne, Regan Smith, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano complete Sunday’s top-10 starters.  Paul Menard, Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski (13th with lap of 29.751 seconds/181.507 mph in the No. 2 Penske Racing Miller Lite Dodge), Trevor Bayne, Mark Martin, Hornish, Marcos Ambrose, Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman round out Sunday’s top-20 starters.

With today’s qualifying behind him, Hornish is now concentrating on coming through with another solid run here tomorrow (Sunday) in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge.

"The car was really good in practice. I could run within a tenth of a second (of the fastest cars) on the bottom, middle, and on the top,” the optimistic Hornish said.  “I feel like we have a car that we can run a lot of different places on the race track with good speed. I think we'll have a lot of places to pass all day tomorrow. We're a top-five car right now."

“Sam did a tremendous job hanging on out there,” crew chief Todd Gordon said of his driver’s qualifying effort.  “I was on pit road watching it on the big screen.  I said, ‘Oh no…oh no…yes…way to go Sam.’  I think we have a really strong Shell-Pennzoil Dodge here this weekend and I know we have a very hungry driver.  We are looking forward to tomorrow’s race so much.  I think we can be strong enough to turn some heads and get some TV time for the guys not fortunate enough to be among the 12 Chase drivers.”

Sunday’s Geico 400 (267 laps, 400.5 miles) has a scheduled 1:00 p.m. CDT (2:00 p.m. EDT) starting time and features live coverage by ESPN-TV and MRN Radio.