Hornish Runs Up Front, Finishes 15th at Talladega
October 31, 2010
TALLADEGA, Ala. (October 31, 2010) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 15th in the AMP Energy Juice 500 at Talladega Speedway on Sunday afternoon after running at the front of the field for most of the afternoon.
Starting the race from the 10th position, Hornish quickly demonstrated that he had one strongest cars and he could run well in the draft at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. With two-car drafts proving effective at the tri-oval, Hornish worked with the No. 55 car of Michael Waltrip and moved into the race lead on lap 10. He held the position for two laps before falling back and changing positions with Waltrip in the draft. Hornish seized the race lead once again on lap 14.
Pleased with the handling of the Mobil 1 machine, Hornish came to pit road during the first round of green-flag pit stops, along with Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski, on lap 36. The No. 77 crew quickly changed four tires and added fuel before Hornish rejoined the race. By lap 50, Hornish had worked his way back to the front and was running in second place.
At the midpoint of the 188-lap event, Hornish was running in the 12th position following a pit stop for service on lap 71. A long green-flag run ensued with most cars on track running in a single-file line. Hornish was running inside of the top-five when he came to pit road for service during a second round of green-flag pit stops on lap 112. Exiting pit road with teammate Busch, the two Penske drivers worked together to return to the front of the field.
Hornish once again moved into the race lead when the caution flag waved on lap 140. He came to pit road to top off the fuel tank on the Mobil 1 Dodge. Hornish was assessed a penalty by NASCAR for speeding while exiting pit road, so the No. 77 team opted to pit once again for four tires and fuel. As a result of the penalty, Hornish lined up for the race restart from the end of the longest line of cars on track, in 27th place.
In the closing stage of the race, Hornish was able to work with Waltrip once again and the two made a push to the front of the field. When the caution flag was displayed with eight laps to go, Hornish was running in the fourth spot. He fell back in the running order on the ensuing restart and finished the race in 15th place as the race ended under caution due to a multi-car accident on lap 187.
“Today was awesome up until the last four laps,” said Hornish. “The Mobil 1 Dodge was really good all day long. I could push well and get up to the front and lead. I got caught speeding on pit lane, fell back and made my way all the way back to the front. For some reason on that last restart, we just didn’t go. I was really happy with the Mobil 1 Dodge. I just wish that we had a couple more laps there at the end.”
Keselowski and Busch finished the race in 10th and 30th place, respectively.
Now ranked 28th in the driver point standings, Hornish and the Mobil 1 team will head to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend for the AAA 500 on Sunday, November 7, 2010. Racing action will air live on the ESPN television network beginning at 3 p.m. EDT. The race will also be broadcast live on PRN and Sirius Satellite Radio.