Hornish Starting 27th in Sunday's TUMS 500

October 26, 2012

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 26, 2012) – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Sam Hornish Jr. will start 27th in Sunday’s TUMS Fast Relief 500 here at Martinsville Speedway.  Hornish earned the spot on the starting grid after circling the shortest track on the Sprint Cup circuit in 19.669 seconds (96.273 mph) in this afternoon’s qualifying session.

“Just not the lap that we were looking for with our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge,” Hornish told Dodge SRT’s Jimmy White.  “We can’t get the car stopped into the corner or else it’s slow.  We’ll start towards the back and see what we can do on Sunday.”  

Crew chief Todd Gordon already had qualifying behind him and was focusing on the job at hand early Friday night. 

“Yeah, we were all hoping for a little more today, but we’ll take it and go from there,” said Gordon.  “We have two practices to get the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge dialed in tomorrow.  The big thing on Sunday is that we have to be patient and work our way forward."

“Don’t forget that we started 27th here in the spring race, too,” said Gordon.  “We were able to use patience and move on up into the top 10.  We finished second with AJ (Allmendinger) driving after that wild last restart.  You know something like that is likely to unfold again here on Sunday…that there will be a late-race restart.  We just need to work ourselves up toward the front for the end of the race.  If we can have everything in good shape and our brakes working properly, I am confident we can have another good finish here on Sunday.”

Jimmie Johnson claimed the Coors Light Pole Award here this afternoon with a fast lap of 19.402 seconds (97.598 mph), just a tenth of a second off the track record.  Brian Vickers was second in the No. 55 car with a lap of 19.415 seconds (97.533 mph).  Kyle Busch (lap of 19.436 seconds/97.427 mph) was third, with Jeff Burton (19.443 seconds/97.392 mph) fourth and Denny Hamlin (19.445 seconds/97.382 mph) fifth.

Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard and Aric Almirola rounded out today’s top-10 qualifiers. 

Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski, currently leading Johnson by seven points in the battle for the 2012 Sprint Cup title, starts 32nd here on Sunday.  Keselowsi toured the tight little .526-mile Martinsville oval in 19.722 seconds (96.015 seconds) on his fast lap against the clock in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge.

Saturday’s schedule here at Martinsville Speedway features practice sessions from 9:30 a.m. till 10:25 a.m. and from 12:00 noon till 12:50 p.m. (live on SPEED-TV).  Sunday’s TUMS Fast Relief 500 has a scheduled 1:30 p.m. local (ET) starting time at the 0.526-mile flat track with tricky inside curbing in the corners.   ESPN-TV and MRN Radio will provide live coverage of all the action.