Incident Hampers Strong Run for Hornish at the Brickyard

July 27, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 26, 2009) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 37th Sunday in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While running inside the top-15, an incident in turn 1, along with subsequent repairs to the car, relegated the team to a 37th-place finish.

Hornish, a three-time IndyCar Series champion and winner of the 2006 Indianapolis 500, lined up to start the 160-lap event from the 15th position. By lap seven, he relayed that the Mobil 1 Dodge was handling tight in the center of the turns and was loose-handling on the exit of the corners.

When the first round of green-flag pit stops began, Hornish pitted on lap 30 for four tires and fuel, along with air pressure and wedge adjustments. When the stops cycled through, Hornish was running in the 11th spot.

As racing action continued, Hornish reported that No. 77 machine was loose-handling overall, especially on the exit of the turns. When the caution flag waved on lap 57, Hornish remained in 11th place. He returned to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments and restarted the race from the 12th position on lap 62.

On lap 69, the Mobil 1 Dodge got loose in turn 1 causing Hornish to brush the wall. The contact forced the Dodge Charger to the garage for repairs and the crew worked feverishly to get the Mobil 1 machine back on track. Hornish rejoined the race on lap 107 in 37th place, 38 laps down to the leaders.

Despite the incident, Hornish was able to remain on track for the remainder of the race. He crossed the finish line in the 37th position, 42 laps down to race winner Jimmie Johnson. Hornish remains 29th in the 2009 driver points standings, 118 points out of 25th place.

Penske Racing teammates David Stremme and Kurt Busch finished the race in 16th and 27th place, respectively.

"I just got loose getting into turn 1 and saved it as much as I could toward the exit but ended up getting into the wall,” said Hornish. β€œIt's frustrating for sure. Our Mobil 1 Dodge was pretty good today. We made a couple changes on our pit stop, and may have gone the wrong way a little bit, but we were still in pretty good position. I just got loose and decided to gas it up instead of spinning it inside. It was a mistake on my end."

Next weekend, Hornish and the No. 77 team return to Pocono Raceway for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. Racing action will air live on Sunday, August 2, 2009 on ESPN beginning at 1 p.m. EDT and will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio.