Tough Day for Penske Racing at Martinsville

March 31, 2008

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 31, 2008) - Penske Racing trio Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish Jr., and Kurt Busch finished 19th, 28th and 33rd respectively in Sunday's Goody's Cool Orange 500 at the .526-mile Martinsville Speedway.

After starting 13th, it was a tough top-20 finish for the No. 12 Alltel Dodge team, which included a spin-out incident near the mid-point of the race. "We just missed it today - plain and simple," said the 2008 Daytona 500 winner Newman, now 11th in driver point standings after the event. "I had my hands full all day with the Alltel Dodge. Looking at the day, it could have been a lot worse and we did recover to get a top-20 finish, but I know we are a lot better than that. The pit crew did a good job making all the changes. We need to get back on the right track in Texas next week."

Hornish Jr., who started 26th, persevered in his first race at Martinsville Speedway in his No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge. Although Hornish Jr. finished the race in the 28th position, the No. 77 team is now 36th place in the owner points standings, only three points out of the top-35, and is 3rd in the Rookie-of-the-Year standings. "I got a lot of experience today," said Hornish Jr. "It was pretty tough but I am proud of the guys on the Mobil 1 team. We didn't ever give up. We will keep working hard and doing our best."

No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge crew chief Pat Tryson best summed up the day for Busch: "I've been around long enough to see that sooner or later you have one of those just really bad days on the track and today we had ours," Tryson said of Busch's 33rd-place finish which dropped the 2004 NASCAR champ back to 16th in the NASCAR Cup point standings after six of 36 races along the 2008 schedule. "Even though we struggled most of the day, Kurt and the guys never gave up. You just have to look at it as a day of learning what we could about this new car, putting the day behind us and now turning the focus toward Texas.

"We have a test scheduled this week at Kentucky Speedway and it really couldn't come at a better time," Tryson added. "We'll use it to prepare for the Texas race next weekend and it'll give us a little bounce-back time from our disappointment here this weekend."

"There's not too much you can say after a race like we had today," Busch said. "We can only hope that we learned some things that will make us better. We're all frustrated, but we'll keep getting after it. Today is over and we'll go on from here. It'll be okay."

Newman, Hornish Jr., and Busch head to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend for the Samsung 500. The race will air live on FOX at 1:30 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on PRN Radio at 2:00 p.m. EDT.