Challenging Michigan Day for Penske Racing Trio

August 18, 2008

BROOKLYN, Mich. (August 17, 2008) - Penske Racing drivers Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish Jr. and Kurt Busch finished in 21st, 22nd and 36th places, respectively, in Sunday's 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Although Newman qualified in the 20th position on Friday, the Alltel team had to make an engine change during the first practice session which relegated the No. 12 machine to the last starting position in the field of 43 cars. Newman's No. 12 Alltel Dodge team fought handling issues and tough competition for the duration of the 400-mile event, but the Alltel team never gave up and worked on the car throughout the day, resulting in a 21st place finish. Newman is now 17th place in the 2008 NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings, 211 points behind the 12th-place cutoff for the 2008 "Chase for the NASCAR Cup."

"We changed everything on the car that we could to try and get our Alltel Dodge to drive better," said Newman after the 200-lap events. "It's not the greatest finish, but a pretty good rebound after we started dead last. We'll take this finish and head to Bristol."

Hornish and No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge returned to racing in front of his "home" crowd on Sunday. After qualifying in the 23rd position, Hornish battled an ill-handling condition throughout the day, but drove hard and avoided trouble, finishing in a respectable 22nd place and earning the Raybestos "Rookie of the Race" title. The No. 77 team remains 34th in the 2008 NASCAR Cup Series owners points standings.

"I don't know what to say about today," said Hornish after the race. "We finished respectable but it was a struggle. We'll keep working at it. The Mobil 1 Dodge ran well. We probably had a top-15 car but didn't get a top-15 finish."

After starting 13th and running as a solid top-10 contender for the first half of the Michigan race, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge driver Busch's day took a turn for the worse, resulting in a 36th-place finish and dropping him a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings to 19th.

"We're already in the experimental mode trying stuff and hoping to learn from it," said Busch, who encountered trouble when the No. 2 machine made contact with the No. 70, resulting in a spin. "What we had for the setup today was quite different from what we ran here back in June. We ran in the top-10 for the first half but just got behind when we took out spring rubbers and bled the shocks. We lost 10 spots or so, falling from top-20 to at least 10 spots further back. We got back there in four-wide traffic on a restart and cut down the left rear tire. It was a tough day, but we learned a lot out there."

The Penske Racing trio returns to action next Saturday night, August 23, for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The race can be seen live on ESPN at 7 p.m. EDT and heard on the PRN radio network at 8 p.m. EDT.