Sam Hornish Jr. Leads Dodge&Penske Racing Contingent
November 3, 2008FORT WORTH, Texas (November 2, 2008) - Top-finishing Dodge driver and 2008 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year contender Sam Hornish Jr. led the Penske Racing contingent in the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Hornish secured a 23rd place finish while teammates Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch placed 28th and 41st, respectively.
After starting in 21st place, Hornish and the Penske Truck Rental team worked throughout the 501-mile event to a 23rd place finish. For the fourth consecutive week, Hornish received "Rookie of the Race" honors as the top-finishing rookie contender. The No. 77 team remains 37th in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner points standings, 100 points outside of 35th place.
"We had a respectable run today with the Penske Truck Rental Dodge," said Hornish after the 334-lap event. "We were right where we were at Charlotte and Atlanta. I'm real happy with the guys that worked on the Penske Truck Rental Dodge. They gave me a decent car. We were just off on it too much early to be able to be where we needed to be. We'll just keep working on our program as the season comes to a close."
On Friday, Ryan Newman qualified 31st, so the Alltel team knew that they would have their work cut out for them to make up ground on the 1.5-mile oval. Newman and the No. 12 Alltel Dodge fought grip issues throughout the course of Dickies 500 on Sunday afternoon. Despite making numerous air pressure and chassis adjustments throughout the course of the event, Newman battled with a race car that seemed to slide around the track. Newman finished 28th, three laps down to the leader. With two races remaining in the NASCAR Cup Series season, Newman is currently 16th in the 2008 driver point standings.
"We just couldn't seem to make the car go today," said Newman, who complained that his car had no grip, meaning that the car wouldn't stick to the track and felt like it was sliding around for most of the day. "The car's balance was never really bad, I just had no grip, and when you don't have grip you really can't manipulate the race car and make it go where you need to in order to gain spots."
After engine problems relegated Busch to the garage area early, the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team finished 41st in at Texas Motor Speedway, accounting for their fourth DNF (did not finish) of the 2008 season. Busch is now 19th in the 2008 NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings.
"It was a really tough day out there for our Miller Lite Dodge," Busch said. "It reminded me a lot of our race at Kansas from a handling standpoint. We were either way too loose or way too tight. We just ran it so hard running out front to get out lap back that it took its toll on the engine. After running so strong at Charlotte and Atlanta, we were hoping for another good run here for our Miller Lite Dodge, but it just wasn't meant to be."
The NASCAR Cup Series returns to action next Sunday, November 9, for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race can be seen live on the ABC television network at 3 p.m. EST and heard on the MRN radio network at 2:45 p.m. EST.
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