TALLADEGA, Ala. (November 1, 2009) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 40th in the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday after suffering engine woes on pit road. Hornish is now ranked 29th in the season driver point standings.
As racing action was set to begin before a crowd of 127,500 race fans, Hornish thanked the members of the Mobil 1 team for their hard work during the weekend. After being bumped from behind in practice on Friday, the team was forced to unload the backup car. Confident in their chances to have a strong run at the historic 2.66-mile tri-oval, Hornish and the Mobil 1 crew were focused on having a smooth afternoon on track and in the pits.
Hornish started the race from the 27th position when the field was set by championship points after rain cancelled qualifying on Saturday. When the first caution flag of the day came out on lap 4, Hornish was running securely in the lead pack of cars in the 16th position. The team opted not to pit so early in the race and Hornish advanced to the 14th spot on the restart. As the No. 77 team looked ahead to its first pit stop of the race, Hornish relayed that he needed to be able to pull up to the cars in front of him in order to improve the performance of the Mobil 1 machine on the backstretch.
On lap 44, Hornish came to pit road for service during the afternoon’s first round of green flag pit stops. After a stop for right-side tires and a full tank of fuel, Hornish pulled out of the pit stall and noted that he felt something different under the hood of the Mobil 1 Dodge. He returned to the pits on the next lap and was forced to the garage for repairs. Ultimately, Hornish and the Mobil 1 Dodge were unable to continue the race and finished in the 40th position.
Penske Racing teammates David Stremme and Kurt Busch finished the race in 22nd and 30th place, respectively.
“It started off to be a pretty good day for our Mobil 1 Dodge,” said Hornish. “We started the race in 27th and the car really felt fast. I was able to get up with the lead pack of cars, making a charge to get inside the top-10 when we pitted under green for a routine stop. When the jack dropped and I began to exit the stall, something happened under the hood that ended our day. We’re not sure exactly what it was yet. The Mobil 1 guys did a great job here in Talladega all weekend. Our engine was fast, the car drove great and it was going to be competitive all day. It was just a tough break that ended our day too early.”
Hornish and the No. 77 team head to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend for the excitement of the Dickies 500. Racing action will air live on Sunday, November 8, 2009 on the ABC television network beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET and will also be broadcast live on PRN Radio.