Hornish Jr. Starting 10th in Sunday's Talladega Battle

October 7, 2012

TALLADEGA, Ala. (October 6, 2012) – Sam Hornish Jr. will start the SKF Dodge Charger from the 10th position in Sunday’s Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 here at Talladega Superspeedway.  Hornish earned the starting spot by touring this massive 2.66-mile race track in 50.234 seconds (190.628 mph) in today’s qualifying session.

“It was a solid run for the SKF Dodge Charger,” Hornish said after turning in his effort.  “We were just a tick tight.   I think that we had a top-five car in qualifying; just a bit tight.  The car had really good balance in the draft yesterday and I think that we’re good in race trim.”

Kasey Kahne claimed the Coors Light Pole Award here today by posting the fast lap of 50.014 seconds (191.455 mph).  Ryan Newman’s lap of 50.098 seconds (191.145 mph) earned him the outside pole for Sunday’s race.  Clint Bowyer (lap of 50.105 seconds/191.119 mph) was third, with Tony Stewart (50.138 seconds/190.993 mph) fourth and Greg Biffle (50.148 seconds/190.955 mph) fifth. 

 Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne, Martin Truex Jr. and Hornish rounded out the top-10 qualifiers.  Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski, who leads the Sprint Cup point standings, will start the Miller Lite Dodge from the 22nd position after turning in a lap of 50.459 seconds (189.778 mph).

 With Keselowski leading the points, Hornish hopes he can help his teammate in Sunday’s 188-lap battle.  “We have to be there in the end to help him,” Hornish said.  “I may not see Brad all day except for the last few laps of the race when we can get into a position to help him.  It’s tricky.  The pack will move all day and you just never know how things are going to shake out.  Our SKF Dodge Charger is fast and I think that we can be a good pusher tomorrow.  The guys have been doing a really good job.  We had a really fast car last weekend at Dover.  I know Brad’s car is fast and if we can hook up late in the race, it could be really fun.  He’s won here before and certainly knows how to get around this place.  It we get into position where we can be a good teammate tomorrow and help, that’s our goal.”

Keselowski visited the No. 22 team transporter before today’s qualifying session to chat with Hornish about tomorrow’s race.

“You have to guard the back and keep people from filling in there,” Hornish said of what the two Penske Racing drivers expect to see unfold here tomorrow.  “You’re still going to see some tandem drafting, just a shorter period of time.  At the end of the race, it’s going to come down to how long you can push (the car in front of you) before you start to push all the water out of the engine.  Most importantly, you have to be there at the end of the race to help.  That’s our goal.”

Sunday’s Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 (188 laps, 500.08 miles) has a 1:00 p.m. CT (2:00 p.m. ET) starting time and features live coverage by ESPN-TV and MRN Radio.