Penske Trio Led by Sam Hornish Jr. at Phoenix

April 14, 2008

AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 14, 2008) - At the site of his first IndyCar Series win and the track where he debuted in both the NASCAR Cup and Nationwide Series, Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, continued to find success at Phoenix International Raceway and lead the Penske Racing contingent, finishing 20th in Saturday night's Subway Fit Fresh 500. Teammate Kurt Busch drove to a 23rd place finish in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge while Ryan Newman's No. 12 Alltel Dodge, starting from the pole position, suffered an engine failure, relegating the team to a 43rd place finish.

Hornish Jr. was able to maintain a top-35 position in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup owner point standings and also advance into the Raybestos Rookie of the Year points lead with 78 points, three points ahead of second-place driver Regan Smith.

"We did what we needed to do today to make the car better," said Hornish Jr. said after Saturday's race "We were able to keep up with the track and conserve fuel in the end and gain a lot of spots. I'm happy to have another top 20 and we will continue this momentum as we head to Talladega."

No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch started 40th and ran as high as third in the running order, but finished 23rd. This result saw Busch fall two spots to 16th in the NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings, yet cut his deficit to 12th place almost in half, from 111 points to 58.

"We started the race really loose and got the car way too tight when we went to adjusting on it," said Busch. "We stayed out during one of the cautions to gain track position (up to third), but just couldn't hang with the front runners when we went back to green. The car got so unbelievably tight during the final run that I could barely hang on. The best thing that happened for us tonight was being able to stretch the fuel mileage at the end and finish without having to pit again."

After a 43rd place finish, Newman sits in 12th place in the 2008 NASCAR Cup driver point standings, 300 points behind leader Jeff Burton.

"Tonight was really unfortunate because we had an Alltel Dodge that was a top-10 car at worst, and I think it was better than that," Newman said. "It's just really disappointing. I was hoping that it was a power steering problem and we could get back out there, but it was an engine."

At this event, Newman scored his first pole position of the in the NASCAR Cup Series 2008 season, his 43rd career pole. Newman is now tied at 10th place on the all-time pole winner's list with legendary driver Buck Baker. It was also Newman's fourth pole at Phoenix, establishing a new track record as he became the only driver with four pole positions at the one-mile oval (2002-2004, 2008).

The Penske Racing NASCAR Cup Series teams will enjoy a weekend off before heading to Talladega Superspeedway on April 27 for the second restrictor-plate race of the 2008 season.

In the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Hornish Jr. will head south of the border with the No. 12 Penske Truck Rental team for the Mexico 200 road course event at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City on April 20. Racing action will air live on ESPN at 1:30 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on MRN Radio at 2:00 p.m. EDT.