Hornish Finishes 28th in Shelby American in Las Vegas

March 1, 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (February 28, 2010) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 28th in the Shelby American at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

After days of cold weather and rain showers in Las Vegas, the temperature was much warmer under sunny skies as the field approached the green flag. Aware that the Mobil 1 Dodge might not handle well in such drastic temperature changes, Hornish began updating his team on the car’s condition shortly after the start the 267-lap race. By lap 20, he reported that the Dodge Charger was very loose-handling overall.

When the first caution flag of the day waved on lap 48, Hornish had just fallen one lap down to the leaders and was awarded his lap back. He came to pit road for four tires and fuel, along with substantial wedge and track bar adjustments, and Hornish restarted the race in 28th place.

Still battling a loose-handling machine, Hornish was involved in a single-car spin on lap 88. He came straight to pit road for four tires and returned to the track. Once he caught up to the field, Hornish pitted again under caution for additional wedge and track bar adjustments. He restarted the race on lap 92 in the 29th spot, running one lap down to the leaders.

At the mid-point of the 400-mile race, Hornish was posted in 28th place and was racing for the “free pass” position as the first car positioned one lap down to the leaders.

Long green-flag runs dominated the second half of the race, and despite persistent efforts by the team to improve the performance of the Mobil 1 Dodge, Hornish continued to struggle with an ill-handling race car. He finished the race in 28th place and now sits 28th in the 2010 driver point standings.

“We were way off early,” said Hornish. “We had a set of tires yesterday in practice that were pretty tight and we kept adjusting the car thinking the track was getting tighter and tighter. When the race started and we realized we had made adjustments on a bad set of tires, the car was too free. Once we got a decent handle on it, we were two laps down and then I was speeding on pit road.  We stayed out trying to catch a yellow (flag) and lost another lap. It was one of those days we started digging a hole and it kept getting deeper and we didn’t figure out how to put dirt back in it.”

Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch finished the race in 26th and 35th place, respectively.

Next weekend, the Mobil 1 team will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the excitement of the Kobalt Tools 500 on Sunday, March 7. Race coverage will air live on the FOX television network beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Race coverage will also be broadcast live on PRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.