Hornish Finishes 18th at Phoenix International Raceway

April 11, 2010

AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 10, 2010) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 18th in the Subway Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday night. As a result, Hornish is now ranked 30th in the 2010 driver point standings, just 46 points outside of the 25th position.

After capturing his first top-three starting position in NASCAR competition on Friday, Hornish lined up to start the race from the third spot. When the caution flag was displayed on lap 15, Hornish was in second place and reported that he could easily drive the Mobil 1 Dodge to the bottom of the race track, but needed to be better on entry into the corners. On lap 17, Hornish came to pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. With a couple of the competitors opting to make a two-tire pit stop, Hornish restarted the race from the fourth spot.

As racing action continued, Hornish radioed that the No. 77 Dodge was handling loose entering and exiting the corners. Eventually, the Mobil 1 Dodge developed a tight-handling condition in the center of the turns as the desert sun began to set.

By the end of the first long green-flag run, Hornish reported the car was extremely tight as the No. 77 car had dropped to 11th in the running order. He pitted under green flag conditions on lap 130 for four tires and fuel along with air pressure and wedge adjustments. A caution flag came out halfway through the pit stop cycle and when racing action resumed, Hornish was in ninth place.

At the midpoint of the 378-lap event, Hornish was posted in 10th place. He continued to battle the tight-handling condition on the Mobil 1 Dodge as the race continued under the lights.

The No. 77 team worked to adjust the Mobil 1 machine during the remaining pit stops of the race, but were unable to alleviate the tight-running race car. Hornish continued to run inside of the top 20, despite the handling woes. Running in 16th place, a problem on a late-race pit stop proved costly as Hornish lined up for the green/white/checkered flag finish in the 22nd spot. He advanced four positions in the final three laps to finish 18th.

“It was a solid day for the Mobil 1 Dodge. We had a top-10 car most of the night and ran as high as second place, closing in on the leader,” said Hornish. “Our Mobil 1 Dodge got a little tight on a long-green flag run in the middle of the race and we just couldn’t free it up enough to make gains on the leaders. We were looking at a top-15 finish when we had problem on that last pit stop. We entered pit road 16th and came out 22nd.”

Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch finished the race in 16th and 35th place, respectively.
Hornish and the Mobil 1 team head to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend for the excitement of the Samsung Mobile 500 on Sunday, April 18. Race coverage will air live on the FOX television network beginning at 3 p.m. EDT. The event will also be broadcast live on PRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.