Penske Racing Trio Overcomes Adversity at Texas

April 7, 2008

JUSTIN, Texas (April 6, 2008) - Penske Racing drivers Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr. overcame adversity and finished fourth, 23rd and 32nd in Sunday's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. With their strong finishes, Newman and the No. 12 Alltel/Samsung Dodge team moved into a tie for eighth position in the NASCAR Cup owner points standings, while Busch and his Pat Tryson-led No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge team were able to advance a spot to 15th place.  No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger driver Hornish Jr. secured the 34th position in the 2008 owner points standings.

Newman started the 500-mile race in fourth place, marking his best qualifying effort of the season. Despite struggling with a tight race car all day and even falling a lap down to the leaders at one point in the 500 mile race, Newman and his Roy McCauley-led team refused to give up. Their determination resulted in the team's second top-five finish of the 2008 season.  "Today was a good team effort for the Alltel/Samsung team," Newman said. "We didn't have a great car at the start of the race and we even struggled a little bit in the pits today, but the guys kept working on the car and making it better all day. In the end, I was at the right place at the right time to pick up some positions. I'm really happy to come home with our second top-five of the year."

"This is what happens when the whole team sticks with it," McCauley told the crew following the race. 

Busch started and finished the event in 23rd place and is a mere 111 points behind 12th place in "Chase eligibility" after seven of 36 races.  "We missed the setup again and it's really frustrating," said Busch.  "All we can do is keep plugging away.  We were really loose in at the beginning of the race and just never got a handle on it.  It just seemed like it was from one extreme to the other, regardless of what we did."

"I guess it was just a situation of being on the wrong side of the razor's edge," crew chief Tryson said.  "These cars have proven to be so sensitive and we're all still learning every time we take to the track. We unloaded this new car on Friday and were on the tight side from the first time Kurt hit the track. We were still too tight in practice yesterday and did what we could to conservatively free the car up for today's race.  It's just a small  difference in going from too tight to too loose with these cars. The 12 (Penske Racing teammate Ryan Newman) ran really consistent and my hat's off to Ryan, Roy and all of them.  Hopefully they learned a great deal out there today and we found some things that will help us on these intermediate tracks in the future." 

Hornish Jr. drove a calculated race and finished in the 32nd  position after starting 17th. Despite an on-track skirmish between Hornish Jr. and the No. 44 driven by David Reutimann resulting in right-front fender damage to the Mobil 1 machine, the Chris Carrier-led team regrouped and worked on the car throughout the remainder of the race. He is now 2nd in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, a mere one point behind leader, Regan Smith.

"We had a pretty good car to start out with," said Hornish Jr.. "The guys on the Mobil 1 Dodge Charger did what they needed to keep us in the top 35. Obviously it wasn't the kind of day that we wanted, but it could have been worse. It is what it is and we just have to keep moving forward and working on our car in trying to make it better."

The Penske Racing trio heads out to the "Desert Mile," Phoenix International Raceway, for next weekend's running of the Subway Fresh 500.  Saturday's race (312 laps, 312 miles, 500 kilometers) and is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. EDT.  Live coverage can be found on FOX television and MRN Radio.