All-Star Race Helps Penske Racing Trio Prepare for 600

May 19, 2008

CONCORD, N.C. (May 17, 2008) - A good learning experience for all three teams going into the Coca-Cola 600, Penske Racing drivers Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish Jr., and Kurt Busch finished sixth, seventh, and 22nd respectively in Saturday night's million-dollar 100-lap NASCAR All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Unlike "standard" points races, the non-points NASCAR All-Star race has a unique format in which teams compete in four 25-lap segments. After the second segment, the teams stop for a 10-minute break where they can work on the race cars. Following the third segment, the teams must come down pit road and stop in their box before returning to the track for the fourth and final segment.

As the winner of the 2008 Daytona 500, Newman was guaranteed a spot and qualified eighth in his No. 12 Alltel Dodge for the event. He ran a solid race, ending up in sixth place. "The Alltel Dodge was decent tonight, and I think we learned some things that will help us come back here with a better car for next week's race," Newman said following the caution-free race. "Track position was everything tonight. We opted for two tires on the final pit stop, and some of the guys in front of us didn't take any. Sixth-place is a solid finish, and we'll take what we learned and hopefully improve on that next Sunday."

Hornish Jr, captured one of two competition transfer spots in the Sprint Showdown in his No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge and advanced into the million-dollar main event. After a second-place finish in the 40-lap Showdown, Hornish and the Team captured a seventh-place finish after starting 23rd in a field of 24 competitors. He fought through traffic in the main event and came back from a two-lap deficit to finish in seventh place. "We had a really good car. I thought we had a car that was capable of running in the top-10 here. Once we got out there running, I think we had one that was capable of winning," said Hornish. "I was just really happy with the way that the Mobil 1 Dodge handled tonight and the guys did a great job in the pits. "

"Tonight is a confidence builder for Sam undoubtedly," said Mobil 1 team crew chief Chris Carrier after the race. "I told the team earlier that tonight could be the shot in the arm that turns our whole season around as long as we perform. Momentum is a huge tool. It's the best or worst tool there is in any competitive sport. Now we've got some momentum on our side and that's what we've been looking for all year."

No. 2 Miller Lite driver Busch started third but experienced handling issues throughout each segment of the race, finishing 22nd. "We started third here tonight and much credit was due to the pit crew," said Busch. "When the green flag flew, we were immediately too much on the tight side. We made several changes during our stops, but the situation never got that much better. We went with four tires there on the stop between the final two segments. We were running just in front of the guy who wound up winning (Kasey Kahne) at the end of the third segment. They went with no tires and won it and we went with four, got even tighter and fell on back through the field."

"The race doesn't pay points and like Kurt says, ‘nobody even remembers who finishes second in this race,' so we'll just try to learn from tonight's race and come back smarter and better prepared for the 600 next weekend," said Miller Lite team crew chief Pat Tryson said. "It's next weekend that we play for the marbles, so we'll regroup and come back ready to get after them then."

The Penske Racing NASCAR Cup Series trio returns to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600. The race can be seen on the FOX television network beginning at 5 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 25. The race can also be heard on the PRN radio network starting at 5:30 p.m. EDT.