Sam Hornish Jr. Starting Fourth in Sunday's AAA 400

September 29, 2012

DOVER, Del. (September 29, 2012) – Sam Hornish Jr. will start his Shell-Pennzoil Dodge fourth in Sunday’s AAA 400 here at Dover International Speedway.  Hornish earned the starting spot by circling the “Monster Mile” in 22.676 seconds (158.758 mph) in this afternoon’s qualifying session.

“The lap was okay,” said Hornish, whose best starting spot here at Dover entering this weekend was ninth in the September 2009 race.  “From inside the car, I thought that we put together a pretty solid Lap 1 and tried to get a little more out of it on the second lap. I wish they had given me my first lap time because I wouldn’t have pushed it so hard on the second one. The Shell-Pennzoil Dodge was really good. The guys have worked hard to give me a fast car. Our race runs yesterday didn’t have the speed that we needed, so I’m really happy that I qualified well.”

Today’s qualifying session was held under mostly cloudy skies with the temperature in the mid-60s.  He was asked by SPEED-TV’s Bob Dillner if the weather presented any difficulties.

“Not really,” Hornish said.  “For us yesterday, we were really happy with our car in the first session. In the second session, I just slid around too much in qualifying trim. All the way up to Turns 3 and 4, we were about a tenth (of a second) faster than all the cars that we were practicing around so we felt that our car was going to be good as long as we could get our qualifying lap in. The clouds didn’t affect us that much; it was really more about not having as much rubber on the track like we had yesterday.”

Hornish’s effort here today gave crew chief Todd Gordon the opportunity to have the fourth choice of spots on pit road for tomorrow’s battle.

“It was a great run by Sam and we hope we can have a solid day here in tomorrow’s race,” Gordon offered.  “This is a really tight pit road and history shows it’s best to get a spot nearest the exit in Turn 1.  The 11 car (pole-winner Denny Hamlin’s team) chose the first pit of course.  We were able to get the second spot and that should be a huge help.”  (Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be pitting in the third spot here tomorrow.)

Denny Hamlin claimed the Coors Light Pole Award here this afternoon with a fast lap of 22.599 seconds (159.299 mph).  Clint Bower was second-fastest with his lap of 22.604 seconds (159.264 mph).  Martin Truex Jr. was third (lap of 22.613 seconds/158.758 mph) and Kyle Busch (lap of 22.689 seconds/158.667 mph) rounded out today’s top-five qualifiers.  Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 10.

Sunday’s “AAA 400” (400 laps, 400 miles) on the “Monster Mile” is scheduled to get the green flag at approximately 2:00 p.m. EDT.  Race No. 28 of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will feature live coverage by ESPN-TV and MRN Radio.