Early-Race Incident Relegates Hornish to 34th at Dover

May 16, 2010

DOVER, Del. (May 16, 2010) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 34th at Dover International Speedway on Sunday after suffering a right-front tire incident early in the race.

On Friday, Hornish was pleased with the Mobil 1 Dodge in practice and qualified 10th for the Autism Speaks 400 presented by HERSHEY®’S Milk & Milkshakes at the “Monster Mile.”

As the green flag waved to start the 400-lap event, Hornish and the Mobil 1 team were focused on maintaining the momentum of the weekend with a strong run at the one-mile oval. Within 10 laps of competition, Hornish radioed that the Mobil 1 machine was tight-handling on the exit of the turns.

A long green-flag run ensued and Hornish relayed on lap 28 that there might be an issue with the right-front tire. Near lap 50, he radioed the team to report that the race car handled tight overall but had become loose on both the entry and exit of the turns. With the team’s pit window approaching, the Mobil 1 crew prepared to make a stop for tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment.

On lap 53, Hornish radioed that he needed to bring the car in for a stop. As he tried to make his way down the track to pit road, the No. 77 Dodge suffered a blown right-front tire and hit the outside wall bringing out the first caution flag of the race. The Mobil 1 Dodge sustained heavy right-front damage and Hornish was forced to the garage for repairs. He rejoined the race on lap 111 in the 39th position, running 58 laps down to the leaders.

Hornish returned to racing action and was involved in a spin on lap 244. Spending limited time in the garage for repairs, he resumed the race on lap 266. Ultimately, Hornish remained on track until the checkered flag waved to secure a 34th-place finish. Hornish remains 30th in the 2010 driver point standings, 189 points outside of the 25th position.

“I really like Dover but I don’t seem to have much luck here,” said Hornish. “We were pretty happy with the Mobil 1 Dodge in race trim and we qualified well on Friday. We just started out too tight. I felt something with the right-front tire and I couldn’t get to pit road before we lost the tire and got into the wall. To wreck early in the race is disappointing and makes for a long afternoon. It’s been a tough few races for this Mobil 1 team, but Charlotte has always been good to us, especially the Showdown and All-Star Race. We’re looking forward to next weekend for sure.”

Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch finished the race in 18th and 19th place, respectively.
Hornish and the Mobil 1 team hope to repeat last year’s standout performance in the Sprint Showdown/All-Star Race next Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 22, 2010. Racing action will air live on SPEED with the Showdown beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT and the All-Star Race beginning at 9 p.m. EDT. The races will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio.