Penske Racing Firecracker 250 Race Preview
July 2, 2013
Subway Firecracker 250
Daytona International Speedway
Friday July 5, 7:30 pm ET
No. 12 PPG Ford Mustang Driver: Sam Hornish Jr.
• ONE TO TWO TO THREE TO TWO: Sam Hornish Jr. led the series standings for the first seven races of 2013 and then held the second position, as far back as 58 points, for six races. He dropped to third in the standings for one race and now once again occupies second place, just eight points behind series leader Regan Smith.
• PONY EXPRESS: In his second full-season of NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) competition, Hornish is enjoying the best season of his NASCAR career. Driving a Ford Mustang this year he has led 288 laps on the way to one victory, six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.
• LOCALS ABOVE AND BELOW: The PPG Ford Mustang team spotter Tab Boyd hails from nearby Pensacola, Fla. and the team jackman, Aaron Walker, is originally from Mims, Fla.
• UPWARD MOBILITY: Hornish started and finished second at the first Daytona race of this season. He and the No. 12 Penske Ford team are well positioned to improve on that as they look for the second win of the year.
• SEASON STANDINGS RESET: Going into this Friday night's race at Daytona, the top-five places in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings are separated by a mere 20 points. The outcome of Daytona will likely set the tone for the second half of the season and the No. 12 PPG Ford team is intent on continuing to challenge for the series title.
• WITH YOU ALL THE WAY: Hornish will be at the USO and NASCAR Foundation volunteer project to assist the children of military families Friday, July 5 at 11:00 a.m. ET. The event will take place at the Infield Fan Zone.
SAM HORNISH JR., NO. 12 PPG FORD MUSTANG
YOU ARE EIGHT POINTS OUT OF FIRST-PLACE, HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR MINDSET GOING TO DAYTONA?
"We are grateful to be in contention at this point in the season. After the race last weekend in Kentucky, the top five spots in the standings are separated by just 20 points. Now the race at Daytona is kind of like a fresh start to the season - only this time the top contenders are there based off performance rather than speculation. Our PPG Ford Mustang team has proven to be a formidable competitor through the first 15 races. We enter this race with the benefit of the lessons from the first half of the season combined with the willingness to work and continually improve."
GREG ERWIN, CREW CHIEF NO. 12 PPG FORD
IS THE SECOND DAYTONA OF THE SEASON DIFFERENT FROM THE FIRST?
"Other than the fact that we are racing at night instead of the day, not really. Our PPG Mustang will have speed and we know what we have to do to win. Racing under the lights does give that little extra touch of excitement and these restrictor plate races are always a fantastic show. We'll do our best to be there at the end and take our shot at the win."
No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang Driver: Joey Logano
• LOGANO'S BACK: Joey Logano, a 19-time winner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will return to the seat of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Logano has made five starts in the Nationwide Series this year, picking up one victory (coming at Dover International Speedway) and four top-five finishes.
• 22 TEAM IS ON FIRE: The No. 22 Discount Tire team is the hottest team in the Nationwide Series garage right now. The team, which currently sits second in the Nationwide Series Owner's point standings, has won three of the last five Nationwide Series events. Even more impressively, those wins have come with three different drivers - Logano at Dover, AJ Allmendinger at Road America and Brad Keselowski at Kentucky. The No. 22 team sits just 39 points behind the No. 54 car from Joe Gibbs Racing in the Owner's standings.
• PLATE PERFECTIONIST: When Logano races on a restrictor-plate track in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, he's usually considered one of the favorites. Logano has won at both Daytona and Talladega in the Nationwide Series over the course of his career. In fact, in eight-career races at Daytona, Logano has five top-10s. Even more impressive, Logano has found himself in the lead at some point on the white flag lap in each of the last four Nationwide Series races at the 2.5-mile speedway.
• PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT: Logano will be a part of a special press announcement on Friday afternoon prior to the start of Nationwide Series qualifying at Daytona. The event will take place at 1:00 pm at the Ford Racing display outside of the turn four tunnel.
JOEY LOGANO, NO. 22 DISCOUNT TIRE FORD
WHAT MAKES YOU SO GOOD ON RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS, ESPECIALLY IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES?
"I don't really know. I just really like this style of racing that we do in the Nationwide Series with the two-car tandems. I have always been pretty good at figuring out what it takes to be fast and getting myself in a good position for the end. That is the biggest thing about these types of race tracks is making sure you are working with the right person and making sure you are in the right position to go for it at the end. Having a really fast car always helps too and I've been fortunate enough to have really good cars at Daytona."
YOU HAVE BEEN FIRST ON THE LAST LAP AT DAYTONA IN THE LAST FOUR RACES. HOW IMPRESSIVE IS THAT?
"I don't think I realized that. That's a pretty impressive thing for sure. Again, I think it comes back to just having really good cars and putting yourself in the right position. We always seem to find ourselves right there at the end of the race though at both Daytona and Talladega. Knowing that fact though, I just wish I had more than one in at Daytona."