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Sam Hornish Jr. NSCS Phoenix Preview

November 4, 2008

Photo Courtesy of Steven Rose



Sam Hornish Jr. – No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger
Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
Phoenix International Raceway
November 9, 2008

News and Notes
• Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, will make his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) on Sunday in the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. Earlier this season, Hornish secured a 20th-place finish at the one-mile tri-oval.
• Hornish currently leads the 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year contest. He has a four point lead over fellow contender Regan Smith with just two races to go in the competition (198-194).
• Hornish and the No. 77 Mobil 1 team remain 37th in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner point standings, 100 points out of 35th place following the race at Texas Motor Speedway.
• In the IndyCar Series, Hornish Jr. has a total of six starts with two wins, three top-five and five top-20 finishes at PIR.
• Phoenix International Raceway is the site of Hornish Jr.’s first IndyCar Series win (3/18/01), his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut (11/11/07) and his first race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (11/11/06).
• Hornish hosted the fourth annual Sam Hornish Jr. Celebrity Bowling Tournament last weekend in Texas, raising $100,000 to benefit the Texas chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. Over the past four years, the tournament has raised a total of $407,000.

Upcoming Events
11/7/08: Hornish will be on hand at the Media Center at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday, November 7, at 10:15 a.m. for a press conference alongside fellow Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender Regan Smith.

Chassis Chatter
PRS-553: The primary car for this weekend was raced by Hornish earlier this season at Richmond International Raceway in May (finished 23rd) and in both events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (finished 39th and 30th).
PRS-562: This weekend’s backup car was driven by Hornish at Phoenix in April (finished 20th) and Dover in June (finished 18th).

Sam Hornish Jr. on Phoenix International Raceway
“The final two races of the 2008 season are very exciting for this Mobil 1 team. We currently lead the Rookie of the Year race and are closing in on regaining position in the top-35 in the owner points standings. We plan to gain more ground in Phoenix.

“One thing different about Phoenix International Raceway than most other tracks is both ends are completely different. They're really not anything alike. A lot of times you have to compromise on one end or the other to make your car do what you want it to do. Very seldom do you ever get the car where it's really good on both ends.”

Crew Chief Travis Geisler on Phoenix International Raceway
“The last couple weeks have been good for the Mobil 1 Dodge team. Sam has been the highest finishing rookie for the past four races. With the Raybestos Rookie of Year title on the line and the top-35 in sight, our team has a lot left to achieve in the remaining two races. 

“Phoenix is always interesting because of how far apart the two races are in the schedule. When you go back to look at your notes from the first race you see a lot of areas where your setups have evolved. I am excited about mixing the old and the new and having a better car than we did for the first race.”

2008 Rookie-of-the-Year Standings
Pos.    Driver                  Points
1.       Sam Hornish Jr.       198
2.       Regan Smith           194
3.       Patrick Carpentier    182
4.       Michael McDowell     169
5.       Dario Franchitti         97