Hornish Finishes 17th in Coca-Cola 600

May 31, 2010

CONCORD, N.C. (May 30, 2010) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 17th in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday night.

Starting from the 14th position, Hornish and the Mobil 1 team were aware that track conditions would change throughout the night. After a handful of laps, Hornish relayed that the No. 77 Dodge was handling tight through the center of the corners and free on the exit of the turns. When the first round of green flag pits stops began near lap 50, Hornish came to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel, along with right-side air pressure and track bar adjustments. He restarted the race in 32nd place, positioned one lap down to the leaders.

Hornish quickly noted that the handling on the race car was much improved and he set himself to the task of earning the “free pass” back to lead-lap racing as the first car one lap down. Hornish was successful when the caution flag waved on lap 90, and he returned to the lead lap after pit road service for four tires, fuel, track bar and air pressure adjustments. He restarted the race in the 28th spot.

As the sun began to set, a long green flag run ensued with Hornish once again falling one lap down to the leaders. By the midpoint of the 400-lap race, he was posted in the 29th spot and was running as the first car one lap down in the “lucky dog” position.

Hornish spent much of the remainder of the race fighting to be the first car one lap down in hopes of getting back on the lead lap. He came to the pits for service under green flag conditions on lap 269 and received a “pass through” penalty for speeding upon entering pit road. The penalty cost the No. 77 team four spots and Hornish resumed the race in 31st place, two laps down to the leaders.

The caution flag waved again with 100 laps to go, and the No. 77 team opted not to pit in order to get the “wave around” and regain one of its laps. Hornish restarted the race one lap down and began to race for the coveted “free pass” position. A fortunate caution flag came out just eight laps later and Hornish was awarded his lap back.  He returned to lead lap racing after a pit stop for service to the Mobil 1 machine and he took the restart from the 26th spot.

In less than 10 laps, Hornish advanced nine positions and was looking to break back into the top-15, where he began the longest race of the season, in the closing laps of the race. Hornish ran strong for the remainder of the 600-mile event and finished in 17th place.

“It was a solid 17th-place finish for the Mobil 1 Dodge tonight,” said Hornish. “We weren’t too good the first 500 miles but we kept working on our race car and it took life the last 100 miles. We were pretty good on the short run; we just struggled on the longer runs tonight. It was a good thing that we had 600 miles tonight (laughs). I’m proud of my guys. They hung in there all night and gave me a good race car when I needed it. The Mobil 1 Dodge was a heck of a lot better than it looked at times.”

Hornish and the Mobil 1 team head to Pocono Raceway next weekend for the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 on Sunday, June 6, 2010. Racing action will air live on the TNT television network beginning at 1 p.m. EDT. The race will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio.