CONCORD, N.C. (October 16, 2010) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 40th in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday night after he was involved in another driver’s accident and the No. 77 Dodge was damaged beyond repair.
Hornish started the 500-mile race from the 19th position and the Mobil 1 team focused on producing a strong result at the 1.5-mile oval. When the first caution flag of the race waved on lap 23, Hornish was running in the 17th spot and he radioed that the Mobil 1 Dodge was tight-handling through the center of the corners and on the exit of the turns. He came to pit road for four tires and fuel, along with air pressure and wedge adjustments. Many teams opted to take just two tires on their stops, and as a result, Hornish lined up for the restart on lap 28 in 26th place.
The Mobil 1 team pitted once again under caution on lap 34 and Hornish reported that the changes made by the team had improved his ability to accelerate on the exit of the turns. He noted that the handling of the No. 77 machine had shifted to loose-handling all the way around the track, however. When the first round of green flag pit stops began near lap 75, Hornish returned to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments. When pit stops cycled through, Hornish was running in 31st place, positioned one lap down to the leaders.
As racing action continued, Hornish was running behind the No. 9 car of Kasey Kahne on lap 123 when Kahne’s car got loose on the exit of Turn 4. Hornish was unable to avoid contact with the No. 9 car and the Mobil 1 machine was severely damaged as a result of the accident. Hornish was not able to rejoin the race and the No. 77 team was relegated to a 40th-place finish.
“The No. 9 car got loose off of Turn 4,” said Hornish. “I saw him get a little loose off of Turn 2. You’re stuck in a tough position there because if you let off the gas getting into the corner and he spins, you hit him in the side. If you keep going the same speed he is, then he hits you in the side. It was just a tough night for the Mobil 1 Dodge. The car was really good early on the race and we were able to move up front and get into the top 15. Then the car started to get really loose and we were trying to get it back to where we needed it to be and make it to the end. Unfortunately, we just weren’t able to do that.”
Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch finished the race in 27th and 30th place, respectively.
Now ranked 29th in the driver point standings, Hornish and the Mobil 1 team head to Martinsville Speedway next weekend for the Tums Fast Relief 500 on Sunday, October 24, 2010. Racing action will air live on the ESPN television network beginning at 1 p.m. EDT. The race will also be broadcast live on MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio.