Hornish Scores a 15th-Place Finish at Auto Club Speedway

October 11, 2010

FONTANA, Calif. (October 10, 2010) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, scored a solid top-15 finish in the Pepsi Max 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday after battling a tight-handling race car for much of the afternoon.


Hornish started the 400-mile race from the 37th position and was tasked with advancing through the field at the two-mile D-shaped oval. During the first few cautions at the start of the race, the Mobil 1 crew performed adjustments on the No. 77 car to address a tight-handling condition in the center of the corners, as well as a lack of rear grip.


Having difficulty driving the high-line on track due to the tight condition, Hornish made the most of the bottom groove to work his way into the 27th position by the midpoint of the 200-lap race. At a track where long green-flag runs allow the field to spread out on track, Hornish maintained his position on the lead lap heading into the second half of the race.


A timely caution flag on lap 113 worked in favor of Hornish and the Mobil 1 team, as the No. 77 Dodge was about to fall one lap down to leader Mark Martin. The Mobil 1 crew took the opportunity to adjust their machine under caution in an effort to gain additional ground on the tight-handling issue that continued to plague the team. Hornish restarted the race from the 23rd position on lap 118 as he prepared to make a final push to the checkered flag.


A series of late-race cautions helped Hornish and the No. 77 team as they opted not to pit under a lap 195 yellow flag for a two-car accident involving teammate Kurt Busch. The stage was set for a green/white/checkered flag finish as Hornish lined up for the race restart in the 13th spot. He raced hard in the closing laps to secure a top-15 finish in the Mobil 1 Dodge.


"It was a long day, that’s for sure,” said Hornish. “We weren’t very good on a long run. We could go OK for a couple of laps and move our way up. We just stayed out of trouble and made sure we could make it to the end. That’s what it took for us today. I wish we had been a little better with the Mobil 1 Dodge, but we did what we set out to do and that was bringing the car home in one piece. We started 37th and got a top 20 out of it. That’s a pretty good day I guess.”


Penske Racing teammates Busch and Brad Keselowski finished the race in 21st and 26th place, respectively.


Still ranked 27th in the driver point standings, Hornish and the Mobil 1 team head to Charlotte Motor Speedway next weekend for the Bank of America 500 on Saturday night, October 16, 2010. Racing action will air live on ABC-TV beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The race will also be broadcast live on PRN and Sirius Satellite Radio.