CONCORD, N.C. (October 17, 2009) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, suffered early damage to his machine and finished a disappointing 40th in the NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Hornish is now ranked 27th in the season driver point standings, 91 points outside of 25th place.
With high expectations for the Mobil 1 team at the 1.5-mile oval just outside of Charlotte, N.C., Hornish started the race from the 22nd spot. With a proven track record of strong performances at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Hornish has a victory this season in the NASCAR Showdown and two top-20 finishes in three starts in points-awarding events at the venue.
Shortly after the green flag flew, Hornish was involved in a single-car spin on lap two. With damage to the right-rear quarter panel, Hornish came to pit road for four tires, adjustments and repairs. He restarted the race on lap five, running in the last position on the lead lap.
On lap nine, the No. 77 Dodge spun once again. Hornish radioed that the Mobil 1 machine was handling extremely loose and the team tried to determine the cause of the early-race incidents. Hornish came to the pits for service and repairs and the team replaced the right-rear quarter panel of the car on pit road. Hornish restarted the race on lap 13 in 43rd place, one lap down to the leaders.
Hornish was ultimately forced to the garage for further repairs in order to continue in the race. When he rejoined the field, he was posted in the 43rd position, running 21 laps down to the leaders. Hornish raced on, while the Mobil 1 team continued to adjust the race car throughout the night. Hornish took the checkered flag in the 40th position, 36 laps down to race winner Jimmie Johnson.
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and David Stremme finished the race in 10th and 19th place, respectively.
“The Mobil 1 Dodge was way too loose at the start of the race,” said Hornish. “I probably should’ve brought it to pit road for adjustments instead of risking getting in an accident. We spun twice in just a matter of laps and eventually had to go to the garage for repairs. It’s unfortunate and disappointing because Charlotte is one of the tracks that we look forward to as a team.”
Hornish and the No. 77 team head to Martinsville Speedway this week for the Tums Fast Relief 500. Racing action will air live on Sunday, October 25, 2009 on the ABC television network beginning at 1 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on MRN Radio starting at 12:15 p.m.