California Proves Challenging for Penske Racing Trio

September 2, 2008

FONTANA, Calif. (August 31, 2008) - Penske Racing drivers Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish Jr. and Kurt Busch finished 16th, 31st and 39th respectively in Sunday's Pepsi 500 at the Auto Club Speedway.

Newman's No. 12 Kodak Dodge team started 17th and was able to run in the top 10 for a substantial portion of the 500-mile event Sunday night thanks to a two-tire pit stop midway through the race. In the closing laps, Newman battled with a number of cars to hold on to a top 10 but ended up with a 16th place effort. With the finish, Newman is now 16th in the 2008 NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings, 200 points behind the 12th-place cutoff for the "Chase for the NASCAR Cup." With one more race until the Chase begins, Newman is now mathematically eliminated from the possibility of making the ten-race championship shootout.

"We had good strategy (two-tire pit stop during the sixth caution) which moved the No. 12 into the top 10," said Newman after the race on the two-mile oval. "It looked like we were going to have a decent run with the Kodak Dodge at one point but just didn't have it at the end."

After starting in the 32nd position, Hornish and the No. 77 Penske Truck Rental Dodge were plagued with handling issues for much of the race. After a 31st-place finish, the No. 77 team now sits 36th in the 2008 Cup Series owner points standings.

"We were never really able to get the Penske Truck Rental Dodge where we needed it to be," said Hornish. "We couldn't get the balance just right and didn't get the finish we needed to stay in the top-35 in owner points. We'll put this behind us and work hard to rebound at Richmond next weekend."

No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch got behind after a Lap 44 incident and couldn't rebound, finishing 39th and maintaining the 19th spot in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings.

"Unfortunately it was a disappointing race for our Miller Lite Dodge team," said Busch, who started ninth in Sunday's 500-mile battle but suffered a tire failure in the first quarter of the race. "The car just snapped loose and shot straight to the left. I got into Truex (Martin Truex Jr.), but certainly didn't mean to. When the tire went down, we went for a spin, got a lap down and had our backs up against the wall even before a fifth of the race had been completed."

The Penske Racing trio head to Richmond International Raceway for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 on Saturday, September 6, 2008. Race coverage will air live on the ABC television network at 7 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast live on MRN Radio beginning at 6:45 p.m. EDT.