Hornish Finishes 37th in Season-Opening Daytona 500

February 14, 2010

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 14, 2010) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 37th in the season-opening Daytona 500 Sunday after he was collected in an early-race accident and forced to the garage for extensive repairs.

As the competitors prepared to take the green flag for the first points race of the season, Hornish focused his Mobil 1 team. “Let’s have a good day in the pits and a good year to go with it,” Hornish said to his crew.

Starting near the rear of the field due to a necessary adjustment before the start of the race, Hornish began working his way forward in the running order. On lap eight, Hornish radioed that the Mobil 1 Dodge was handling a little tight and that he preferred to run the lower line. Then, with very little warning, the No. 12 Penske Dodge driven by teammate Brad Keselowski suffered a flat right rear tire in front of the No. 77 car. Hornish was collected in the incident and both Penske Racing cars suffered substantial damage.

Hornish immediately came to the garage for repairs and helped the Mobil 1 crew make the necessary repairs to the car. Hornish rejoined the race on lap 56, 48 laps down to the leaders.

In an unusual turn of events, the race was delayed for nearly two hours when the red flag was displayed due to a hole that developed in the lower groove of Turn 2 due to recent heavy rains in the area. Once repairs were made, racing action resumed for only 36 laps before the race was red-flagged once again for additional track repairs. The field eventually restarted the race with 38 laps to go.

In the waning laps of the race, the new green/white/checkered flag rule handed down by NASCAR came into play. The field used all three attempts at the two-lap, shootout-style finish in an exciting conclusion to a long day of racing. With several fellow competitors either involved in incidents or facing other problems, Hornish was able to salvage a 37th-place finish at Daytona International Speedway.

"We thought we had a good car for the race,” said Hornish. “We just didn't get a chance to see what we had, running only eight laps before we were in the garage. It's unfortunate that two Penske cars had problems early. It wasn't Brad's (Keselowski) fault. He had a flat tire. I tried to slow down, but just couldn't stop in time. We know our cars are better than what we finished. We just need a little luck."

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski finished the “Great American Race” in 23rd and 36th place, respectively.

The No. 77 team will head to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. for the excitement of the Auto Club 500 on Sunday, February 21. Race coverage will air live on the FOX television network beginning at 3 p.m. ET. Race coverage will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.