Solid Points Day for Penske Racing Trio at Pocono

August 4, 2008

LONG POND, Pa. (Aug. 3, 2008) - As varying pit strategies from adverse weather conditions played out during Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, Penske Racing drivers Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish Jr. and Kurt Busch finished 14th, 26th and 38th respectively.

Rain showers canceled both practice sessions on Saturday and temporarily red-flagged the race just past the halfway mark, putting some teams out of pit sequence. Once the race resumed, solid pit strategy allowed Newman and the No. 12 AVIS Dodge to move from as low as the 33rd spot into the top 15 and Hornish's No. 77 Dodge to go from 35th to 26th. Busch and his No. 2 Miller Lite machine fought hard and led the race, but suffered from fuel mileage issues, finishing 38th.

Newman started sixth at the 2.5-mile Pocono "Tricky Triangle," and with his strong 14th place finish, Newman advanced one spot in the 2008 NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings to 15th place, 173 points out of the 12th place "Chase cutoff" with five races to go until the NASCAR Chase for the Cup begins in September.

Hornish started and finished 26th in only his second start at Pocono Raceway. The No. 77 team remains 34th in the 2008 NASCAR Cup Series owner points standings and Hornish is a mere five points away from first place in the 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings.

"I'm real happy with the Mobil 1 Dodge and all the guys that work on it," said Hornish. "The car was good and we had a top-15 car if not better than that. I'm real happy with the progress that we've made since we were here last time. It seems like things are kind of starting to come together for us. We need to keep this consistency up of having top-15 cars and then we're going to start finishing there a lot more often."

After leading the race with 40 laps to go, Busch was relegated to a 38th-place finish after fuel mileage issues and handling woes took their toll. Even with the bad luck on Sunday, Busch and the Miller Lite team managed to maintain an 18th position in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings.

"Running out of fuel twice was tough," said Busch. "It's hard to believe that we had a potential top-five car after the red flag period and even led the race with 40 laps to go. We tried our best, and it's just another example of how hard this season has been."

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to action next Sunday afternoon, August 10, for the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. The race can be seen live on ESPN at 1 p.m. EDT and heard on the MRN radio network at 1:15 p.m. EDT