Sam Hornish Jr. Finishes Sixth at Nashville
July 24, 2011
Photo Courtesy of Autostock
LEBANON, Tenn. (July 23, 2011) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished sixth Saturday evening in the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway. The event marked the seventh NNS race of 2011 for Hornish and his fourth start in the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge. Saturday's result was the top finish of the season for Hornish.
Hornish started from the eighth position, after posting a qualifying time of 31.074 seconds or 154.431 miles per hour, during Saturday afternoon's qualifying session. The performance marked the fourth time that the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge started in the top-10 this season. The No. 12 Challenger started the race strong as Hornish quickly found a rhythm and started to gain track position. By lap 8, Hornish had made his way into the sixth position.
Hornish radioed to crew chief Chad Walter to tell him that the car ran well through the center of the turns, but Hornish was hoping to improve the handling exiting the turns. On lap 42 the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge made its way down pit road for the first stop of the evening. After the crew changed four tires, filled the car with fuel and made a track bar adjustment, Hornish returned to the track in the seventh position.
When the night's first caution flag flew on lap 82, Hornish came down pit road where the Discount Tire crew gave him two right side tires, fuel and made a wedge adjustment. The No. 12 Dodge gained one position in the pits and restarted the race in sixth place.
As the race progressed, Hornish reported that he had to adjust the brake-bias in order to give the car a better entry into the corners. By lap 118, the entire field had settled into a rhythm and the cars were all running very similar lap times. With about 100 laps remaining in the event, Walter radioed Hornish and advised him to keep working on track position.
When the caution flag flew for the second time on lap 127, the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge again made its way down pit road for another four tire stop. This time the No. 12 crew also made an air pressure adjustment and removed tape from the nose of the car to allow more air to flow to the rear brakes. With only 90 laps to go, Hornish restarted in the seventh position and quickly made his way around the No. 66 car of Steven Wallace for sixth place.
The race continued and Hornish maintained his position within the top six. As the third caution flag of the evening was displayed for debris, Walter called for a four-tire stop, fuel, a track bar adjustment and a round of wedge in the right rear to improve the car's performance in the center of the turns. Due to a radio miscommunication, Hornish remained on pit road a little longer than expected and restarted the race in the 11th position.
When the race resumed on lap 183, with only 42 laps to go, Hornish quickly made his way up to the ninth position and then continued to improve his lap times until he caught the No. 16 car of Trevor Bayne and the No. 32 car driven by Reed Sorenson. After he passed both cars, Hornish set his sights on the No. 31 car of Justin Allgaier, who was running in the fifth position. Hornish pushed Allgaier to the very end but finished in sixth place behind race winner Carl Edwards.
"We had a pretty good run in our Alliance Truck Parts Dodge tonight," said Hornish. "We just had one issue on that last restart. I sit at home and watch these races on TV and watch all these green-white-checkered (flag finishes) and we never get them when I race. The car was really good on the restarts. We just didn't have the long-run speed that we needed. I'm really happy with our effort. The car ran great; we just couldn't get the track position that we needed. On our last restart, we had a malfunction with our radio. (Crew chief) Chad (Walter) had an issue with his button on the radio. I'm not supposed to go until he tells me to go. I sat there and watched five guys go around me. But we were able to get those spots back and bring home a sixth-place finish. I think we had a top-five car tonight. We kept all the wheels on the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger tonight and raced them hard to the end."
Hornish will next compete for Penske Racing in the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, September 17 in the Dollar General 300.