Late-Race Incidents Relegate Hornish to 21st at Daytona

July 4, 2010

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 3, 2010) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 21st in the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night. Hornish was a mainstay inside the top-10 for the majority of the race, leading a total of 14 laps, before two separate, late-race incidents hampered the impressive run by the No. 77 team.

Starting from the 30th spot after Friday’s qualifying session was cancelled due to rain, Hornish and the No. 77 team knew that the Mobil 1 Dodge would be strong for the scheduled 400-mile event. Hornish worked his way into the top 10 in the running order in the early stages of the race and briefly assumed the lead for the first time on lap 42. After falling back a couple of spots, Hornish returned to the lead on lap 49 where he remained until he relinquished the position when he made a scheduled green-flag pit stop.

Hornish came to pit road for service on lap 56, and after rejoining the race, a caution flag was displayed before all drivers had come to pit road. As the field was set for the green-flag restart, Hornish lined up in the seventh position. Hornish continued to run solidly inside the top 10, and at the midpoint of the race, Hornish was once again posted as the leader.

In a race that saw nine caution periods for 39 laps, Hornish was able to avoid many of the on-track incidents until the “big one” occurred on lap 149, which involved a total of 19 cars and halted racing action for nearly 20 minutes. Sustaining minor damage and flat left-side tires, Hornish immediately came to pit road to avoid further harm to his race car. Although he was assessed a “tail end of the longest line” penalty, he restarted the race in 13th place and prepared to work his way back to the front of the field.

Hornish advanced in the running order, and with just a few laps to go, he was involved in a three-car accident in the tri-oval which damaged the Mobil 1 machine beyond repair. The unfortunate incident relegated Hornish to a 21st-place finish in what was otherwise an impressive outing for the No. 77 team.

“It was tough way to end the race,” said Hornish, “I just ran out of room. Everybody is shuffling around at the end of the race trying to get the best run that they can. Kurt (Busch) got a little bit loose in front of me and I tried to fill in on the bottom and there just wasn’t enough room at the exit of the turn. The Mobil 1 Dodge was really good tonight.

“It was unfortunate for sure. We’ve been working really hard to make our cars faster and I felt that we had a really good car. It handled great all night. We got beat up a little bit on the big wreck, had to pit and go to the end of line. Our car was so good that I was able to drive right back up to the front and thought that we had a chance to win the race. Our Mobil 1 Dodge was way too good tonight to deserve a finish like we had.”

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski finished the race in seventh and 30th place, respectively.

Hornish and the Mobil 1 team head to Chicagoland Speedway next weekend for the 400 on Saturday, July 10, 2010. Racing action will air live on the TNT television network beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The race will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.