Hornish Finishes 26th at Dover International Speedway

September 27, 2009

DOVER, Del. (September 27, 2009) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 26th in the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday after battling an ill-handling race car for most of the afternoon.

Hornish had a strong run in the spring race at Dover and secured a ninth-place starting position for Sunday’s 400-lap race at the “Monster Mile.” Shortly after taking the green flag to start the event, Hornish reported that the Mobil 1 machine was handling loose entering the turns and was tight-handling in the center of the corners. When NASCAR called a “competition caution” period on lap 25 to allow teams to adjust to the racing surface following overnight rains at Dover, Hornish came to pit road for four tires and fuel, along with air pressure and wedge adjustments. He restarted the race in 18th place.

When blue skies and sunshine replaced overcast conditions during the first part of the race, teams faced the challenge of changing track conditions. Near lap 50, Hornish was running in the 25th spot and radioed that the Mobil 1 Dodge was very loose overall with little grip on the race track. Once Hornish settled into longer, green flag runs he began posting competitive laps times.

On lap 150, Hornish was forced to come to pit road under green flag conditions when the right-front tire on the Mobil 1 Dodge began to go down. He pitted for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Hornish rejoined the race in 32nd place, running three laps down to the leader. When the caution flag waved shortly thereafter, he remained on track and restarted the race from the 28th spot, one lap down to the frontrunners.

At the midpoint of the race, Hornish was posted in the 26th position, two laps down to the leaders. The loose-handling condition on the Mobil 1 Dodge persisted, and although improvements were made, the team was not able to find the right balance to return to lead lap racing. Hornish was involved in a single-car spin on lap on lap 368, but was able to continue until the checkered flag waved. Hornish finished the race in 26th place and remains 27th in the 2009 driver point standings, 60 points outside of 25th place.

“The Mobil 1 Dodge was not that good at the start of the race,” said Hornish. “The guys all stuck in there and we were better at the end of the race. It was definitely a long afternoon. It looked like the other drivers we are racing in the point standings had similar luck today, so I don’t think we lost too much ground. We’ll just regroup and get ready for Kansas next weekend.”

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and David Stremme finished the race in fifth and 29th place, respectively.

Hornish and the No. 77 team head to Kansas Speedway next week for the Price Chopper 400. Racing action will air live on Sunday, October 4, 2009 on the ABC television network beginning at 1 p.m. EDT, and will broadcast live on MRN Radio at 1:15 p.m.