Hornish Starting 11th in Saturday's Richmond Battle

September 8, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (September 7, 2012) – Sam Hornish Jr. will start the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge 11th in Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 here at Richmond International Raceway.  Hornish circled this .750-mile D-shaped oval in 21.359 seconds (126.410 mph) in this afternoon’s qualifying session to earn the starting position.

“It was okay,” Hornish said to Dodge Racing PR’s Jimmy White of the qualifying effort.  “It was a little bit tighter than what I thought we were going to be.  It probably was a little bit more in there for the amount of speed we picked up.   I don’t think I got everything out of it.  It’s a little bit different than driving the Nationwide Dodge Challenger into the corner.  And when I drove it in almost as far as I drove it in on the first lap and I had to go further on the second lap I’m like man, I’m not sure what to think right now.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. claimed the Coors Light Pole Award here this afternoon with a fast lap of 21.256 seconds (127.023 mph).  Jeff Gordon will start second in tomorrow night’s race after turning in with a lap of 21.263 seconds (126.981 mph).  Regan Smith was third here today (lap of 21.275 seconds/126.910 mph), with Clint Bowyer (21.292 seconds/126.808 mph) fourth and Jimmie Johnson (21.295 seconds/126.790 mph) fifth.

Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski (lap of 21.336 seconds/126.547 mph in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) rounded out Friday’s top-10 qualifiers.

In six prior Sprint Cup starts here at RIR, Hornish’s sixth-place finish in the May 2009 race rates as his best result to date.  It came from a 38th-place start.  Hornish has never started any better than 27th in Cup competition here before.

“I wish we had a little bit more but all-in-all I feel like we need to be smart about it and have a good race tomorrow,” Hornish added.  “I finished sixth and eighth here coming from 36th and 38th.  Hopefully we’ll be able to move forward.”

Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 (400 laps, 300 miles) Sprint Cup race has a 7:30 p.m. EDT starting time, with ABC-TV and MRN Radio presenting live coverage.