Sam Hornish Jr. NSCS Homestead Preview

November 11, 2008

Sam Hornish Jr. – No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger
Ford 400
Homestead-Miami Speedway
November 16, 2008

News and Notes
• Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, will make his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday in the Ford 400. Last year, Hornish made his second career Sprint Cup Series start at Homestead, finishing the race in 37th place.
• In the IndyCar Series, Hornish Jr. has a total of seven starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with a total of three wins, two pole positions and six top-five finishes.
• Hornish currently leads the 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year contest heading into the final race of the season. He has a three point lead over fellow contender Regan Smith (199 to 196).
• Hornish and the No. 77 Mobil 1 team remain 37th in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner point standings, 101 points out of 35th place following the race at Phoenix International Raceway.
• Starting in 2009, the Auto Club of Southern California (AAA) will serve as a primary sponsor for select events on the Penske Racing No. 77 Dodge Charger driven by Hornish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Hornish will debut the No. 77 Auto Club Dodge in February at the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif. The motor club will also serve as primary sponsor of the No. 77 in Cup Series events at Kansas Speedway in October and Texas Motor Speedway in November.

2008 Season Highlights
Daytona 500:
Hornish completed the banner day for Penske Racing as he guided the No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge to a 15th-place result as the highest finishing rookie in the field. After starting in the 19th position, Hornish ran inside the top-10 for most of the race.

All-Star Race (Lowes): Hornish garnered attention by racing his way into the 2008 All-Star Race with a second-place in the Sprint Showdown. Hornish went on to secure a seventh-place finish after starting 23rd.

Coca-Cola 600 (Lowes): Leading the Penske Racing contingent at Lowe's and the top-finishing rookie of the race, Hornish started 20th and despite falling one lap down early on, worked his way back onto the lead lap, capturing a career-best 13th-place finish.

LifeLock 400 (Michigan): Qualifying for the 400-mile event was rained out with Hornish starting 35th. The No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge was running strong and Hornish was able to pass leader Jimmie Johnson on lap 162 – his first green flag pass for the lead of a Sprint Cup Series event. He finished the race in 22nd place.

Chassis Chatter
PRS-584: The primary car for this weekend was raced by Hornish at Dover International Speedway in September. Hornish qualified 25th for the event and finished in 42nd place.
PRS-556: This weekend’s backup car was last driven by Hornish at Texas Motor Speedway in April (finished 32nd) and in both events at Michigan International Speedway (finished 22nd in each race).

Sam Hornish Jr. on Homestead-Miami Speedway
“I’ve had success at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the IndyCar Series with two wins with the flat surface and one with the newer banking. I ran the 2007 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season-ending race at Homestead last year and feel that experience will really help is this weekend.

“At the beginning of the year, we set our goals for the season and we wanted to be Raybestos Rookie of the Year. You only have one opportunity to win Rookie of the Year so you want to go out there and try to do it and get that accomplished.  I just feel like I’ve learned so much that regardless of what happens but it would definitely mean a lot for the whole team to win the title in Homestead.”

Crew Chief Travis Geisler on Homestead-Miami Speedway
“Our Mobil 1 Dodge team has some important business to finish up this weekend in Homestead. With a three-point lead in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle we want to finish strong and secure the title for Sam, Mobil 1, and everyone that has worked so hard this season at Penske Racing. 

“Homestead is a unique track that we only race at once a year. It is also the last track that the new car has not been raced yet. It is a fun track and I am sure you will see cars all over the track searching for the best line during the race. We have had good cars at the last four intermediate races and we look forward to finishing out the season with a solid run.”  

2008 Rookie-of-the-Year Standings
Pos. Driver                Points
1.    Sam Hornish Jr.     199
2.    Regan Smith         196
3.    Patrick Carpentier  182
4.    Michael McDowell   169
5.    Dario Franchitti       97