Blown Tire Relegates Hornish to 32nd-Place Finish at Daytona

July 5, 2009

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 4, 2009) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 32nd in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night after suffering a blown tire early in the race.

With qualifying cancelled on Friday due to rain, Hornish was set to start the 160-lap race in the 25th spot. However, due to an accident in the waning laps of the final practice session, the Mobil 1 team had to go to a backup car that did not take to the track before the start of the race. As a result, Hornish was forced to take the green flag from the rear of the 43-car field.

Undeterred, Hornish quickly made his way past his competition. When the first caution flag was displayed on lap 12, Hornish was running in 18th place and reported that the Mobil 1 Dodge was running strong through the corners. He came to pit road for four tires and fuel, along with an air pressure and wedge adjustment. After a quick pit stop by the Mobil 1 crew, Hornish restarted the race in 12th place.

Hornish ran consistently fast lap times and maintained position in and around the top-10 as night fell over the track. On lap 56, he suffered a blown right-rear tire on the Mobil 1 Dodge while running in the 10th spot. As the caution flag flew, Hornish came to pit road, beginning a series of pit stops for fresh tires and repairs to the right-rear quarter panel on the No. 77 machine. After restarting the race, he was forced to return to pit road under green flag conditions for additional repairs. Ultimately, he rejoined the race seven laps down to the leaders.

Hornish was able to avoid involvement in a multi-car accident on lap 76 and with 50 laps to go, he was running in the 32nd spot. The Defiance, Ohio native remained on track and avoided involvement in subsequent on-track incidents and was able to secure a 32nd-place finish. Hornish remains 25th in the Cup Series driver point standings, 142 points outside of the 20th position.

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and David Stremme finished the race in fifth and 35th place, respectively.

“This Mobil 1 team faced a lot of challenges this weekend and things just didn’t seem to go our way,” said Hornish. “We had to go to a backup car at the end of final practice and we didn’t get to turn any laps with it here before the race. The Mobil 1 Dodge was really good tonight but luck just didn’t go our way. Things just haven’t gone our way at Daytona this year but I love racing here and look forward to coming back here next February.”

Hornish and the No. 77 team head to Chicagoland Speedway next weekend for the excitement of the 400. Racing action will air live on Saturday, July 11, 2009 on the TNT television network beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT and will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio at 7:15 p.m. EDT.