Hornish Finishes 36th at Richmond International Raceway

May 2, 2010

RICHMOND, Va. (May 1, 2010) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 36th in the Crown Royal presents the Heath Calhoun 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night. A late-race accident prevented the Mobil 1 team from completing the race and Hornish remains 29th in the 2010 driver point standings, now 125 points outside of the 25th position.

Hornish lined up to start the 400-lap race from the 27th position. Within a few laps, Hornish relayed that the Mobil 1 Dodge was tight-handling in the center and loose on the exit of the turns. When the first caution flag of the race waved on lap 30, Hornish was running in the 30th spot and he reported that the No. 77 machine needed to be able to accelerate faster exiting the corners. He came to pit road for service and restarted the race in 29th place.

On lap 100, the field was in the midst of a long green-flag run and Hornish remained 29th in the running order, but had fallen one lap down to the leaders. When green-flag pit stops began, Hornish came to pit road on lap 141 for fresh tires, fuel and adjustments. After pit stops cycled through, Hornish was running in the 28th spot.

When a caution flag was displayed on lap 153, only eight cars were on the lead lap. As all lead-lap cars came to pit road, Hornish and several other drivers remained on track and were able to get the “wave around” to the tail end of the lead lap.

Hornish was able to remain on the lead lap for much of the second half of the race. The Mobil 1 crew continued to adjust the No. 77 Dodge, and with 100 laps to go, Hornish was running in the 25th position with only 18 cars on the lead lap.

With a possible flat spot on the left-front tire, Hornish came to pit road for an unscheduled stop on lap 327. Hornish rejoined the race in 30th place after receiving four tires, fuel and adjustments.

Hornish made gains and recovered as many positions as possible before he was spun on the backstretch with less than 15 laps to go. Unfortunately, the Mobil 1 Dodge sustained heavy damage as a result of contact with the inside wall and Hornish suffered his first DNF of the 2010 season.
“It was a tough night for the Mobil 1 Dodge,” said Hornish. “We were tight in the center of the turns all night long and we needed better drive off of the corners. We just weren’t able to get a handle on it tonight. The accident in the last laps was unfortunate. It’s our first DNF of the season and that was a disappointing way to end the race.”

Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch finished the race in 14th and 18th place, respectively.
Hornish and the No. 77 team head to Darlington Raceway next weekend for the excitement of the Showtime Southern 500 on Saturday, May 8. Race coverage will air live on the FOX television network beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The event will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.