Hornish Starting 15th Sunday Night in Atlanta

September 1, 2012

HAMPTON, Ga. (Aug. 31, 2012) – Sam Hornish Jr. will start the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge from the 15th position in Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 Sprint Cup Series race here at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Hornish turned in a lap of 30.03 seconds (184.609 mph) in today’s qualifying session to earn the starting spot.

“Compared to where we were when we unloaded the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger earlier today it was a solid qualifying effort,” said Hornish.  “Just a little bit too tight trying to pick the throttle back up and (I) never could get back on the throttle coming off of Turn 2 and that’s where we lost a lot of our time.  For where I thought the car was at the beginning of practice and where we ended up, I just wish we were a touch more free.”

Hornish was 11th fastest in today’s only practice session prior to qualifying.  His best practice lap was a lap of 30.400 seconds (182.368 mph) circuit around the 1.5-mile track.

“We struggled off the truck,” said crew chief Todd Gordon.  “We were trying some different things and with Sam not having raced here in the Cup Series in a few years everything compounded for a tough start to the day.  We got it better.  The guys worked hard and got decent race balance in the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge.  We came back at the end of practice and ran a respectable qualifying run.  I just wish I didn’t have the car so tight for qualifying.  I wanted Sam to be a little tighter than looser and we may have gone a tad too far.”

Tony Stewart won the Coors Light Pole Award with a lap of 29.787 seconds (186.121 mph) over Greg Biffle who paced the circuit in 29.862 seconds (185.648 mph).  Kyle Busch qualified third with his lap of 29.888 seconds (185.493 mph).  Matt Kenseth was fourth with a lap of 29.916 seconds (185.319 mph) and Jeff Gordon was fifth with a lap of 29.918 seconds (185.307mph).

Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski will start his No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge from the 21st spot after clocking in with a lap of 30.121 seconds (184.058 mph).

Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. EDT start, with ESPN and PRN Radio Network beginning their coverage of the event an hour earlier.