Hornish Finishes 19th at Texas Motor Speedway

April 20, 2010

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 19, 2010) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 19th in the rain-delayed Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Monday afternoon. As a result of the finish, Hornish is now ranked 29th in the 2010 driver point standings, just 56 points outside of the 25th position.

Hornish scored his first career NASCAR front row starting position earlier in the weekend with a second-place qualifying effort on Friday. After heavy rains delayed the 334-lap race until Monday, Hornish lined up alongside pole-winner Tony Stewart to lead the field to the green flag.

Immediately after the start of race, Hornish reported that the Mobil 1 Dodge was tight-handling overall. When NASCAR called a “competition caution” on lap 25 due to weekend rains, Hornish was posted in the 11th spot. He came to pit road for four tires and fuel, along with air pressure and wedge adjustments as he restarted the race from the same position.

The Mobil 1 Dodge remained tight, especially in the center of the corners, as racing action continued at the 1.5-mile oval. Hornish maintained position inside the top-20 as the team used subsequent pit stops to make adjustments to the car in order to help its handling in the middle of the corners.

On lap 111, Hornish was involved in a single-car spin while running in the 19th position. The incident brought out the fourth of seven cautions in the race. Avoiding contact with the wall, Hornish immediately came to pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. He restarted the race in the 30th position, on the lead lap, after serving a “tail end of the longest line” penalty for pitting before pit road was open.

At the midpoint of the race, with the second round of green-flag pit stops nearly complete, Hornish was running in 23rd place. With over 150 laps left in the race, Hornish set himself to the task of working his way back through the field.

The tight condition on the Mobil 1 machine persisted as the race continued. The No. 77 team decided to make its final pit stop a little early in hopes of gaining track position in the closing laps of the race. Hornish closed strong and secured a 19th-place finish in the Samsung Mobile 500 for his third consecutive top-20 result.

“We struggled trying to get the balance right on our Mobil 1 Dodge Charger today,” said Hornish.  “We only had one practice session this weekend due to rain and we could’ve used that time on track to fine-tune our race package. We just weren’t able to capitalize on any of our opportunities that we gave ourselves by qualifying on the outside pole. We got a 19th-place finish, which is decent, and we move on to Talladega.”

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski finished the race in fourth and 14th place, respectively.
Hornish and the No. 77 team head to Talladega Superspeedway next weekend for the excitement of the Aaron’s 499 on Sunday, April 25. Race coverage will air live on the FOX television network beginning at 1 p.m. EDT. The event will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.