Sam Hornish Jr Finishes 42nd in Pocono 500

June 9, 2008

LONG POND, Pa. (June 8, 2008) - Sam Hornish Jr, driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finished 42nd in Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. Despite a disappointing day, the No. 77 remains inside the top-35 in 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner's points standings.

Hornish had qualified 42nd for Sunday's event, but due to an incident in final practice Saturday afternoon, had to start the 200-lap race at the tail end of the field in No. 77 backup car. Having practiced for six laps in the backup machine prior to the race start, Hornish and the Mobil 1 team had little idea of how the car would handle during the 500-mile event.

"We really didn't know what to expect," crew chief Chris Carrier said when the car was deemed race ready. "We copied the 2 car's setup since they were so strong here during the test two weeks ago and during practice and qualifying this weekend."

"Good job getting the car together today guys," Hornish radioed to the Mobil 1 team prior to the drop of the green flag. "I'm real proud of you."

As the race started, Hornish got a handle on the Mobil 1 Dodge and on lap 16 he radioed to his team that the race car was experiencing a tight handling condition in the middle of the corners and loose off. During the first round of yellow-flag pit stops, Hornish brought the Mobil 1 Dodge in for tires, fuel and wedge and track bar adjustments.

The adjustments made a difference as Hornish began running lap times comparable to the leaders. The No. 77 slowly made its way through the field, improving 10 positions - to 31st by lap 38.

Teammate Kurt Busch's spin brought out the second caution on lap 41. The team pitted for tires, fuel and made minor wedge and track bar adjustments to "tighten" the race car. Hornish rejoined the field in 37th place after a minor pit-stop miscue.

The next caution period occurred only a few laps later, and Hornish reported that the No. 77 was "tighter overall, especially off the corners." Crew Chief Carrier elected to come to the pits, change right side tires and add fuel. The car immediately responded to the changes and Hornish was able to run laps as fast as those in the top 10, moving up to 29th position.

On lap 56 an incident in turn one between Hornish and the No. 10 of Patrick Carpentier brought out the fourth caution of the race. The Mobil 1 Dodge suffered broken braces on the left side of the front splitter which required a trip down pit road for repairs. The Mobil 1 team was able to make a routine spot and begin fixing the splitter, getting Hornish out before the pace car arrived. Another lap under caution allowed the team to finish repairs and remained on the lead lap.

Hornish regained his momentum, but on lap 69 was tagged on the left-rear quarter panel by the No. 10 machine in turn two. Hornish was able to save the No. 77 from hitting the wall, but again was forced to pit road for damage inspection. Fortunately, the damage was minor and after pitting for four tires and fuel the No. 77 rejoined the field.

On lap 130, Hornish collided with the No. 40 of Dario Franchitti in turn one, bringing out the ninth caution of the day. Hornish brought the No. 77 car into the garage but irreparable damage cost him a chance to rejoin the race.

"It was a pretty disappointing day for us," said Hornish. "We really thought we were getting a good handle on the Mobil 1 Dodge. But I got involved in a couple altercations early on. That last one, I just couldn't keep the back end underneath me and went up into the 40 car. The guys tried to get the car fixed to get back out there. It's unfortunate for sure but we'll just keep working our way at it and move forward to Michigan."

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman finished the race in 8th and 18th place, respectively.

Hornish Jr. and the Mobil 1 team head to Michigan International Speedway for the LifeLock 400 at the on Sunday, June 15, 2008. Race coverage will air live on the TNT network at 12:30 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on MRN Radio beginning at 1:15 p.m. EDT.