Hornish Starting 17th in Sunday's Ford 400

November 17, 2012

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 16, 2012) – Sam Hornish Jr. will start the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge from the 17th position in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale Ford EcoBoost 400 here at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  The Penske Racing driver earned the starting spot by circling this 1.5-mile progressive-banked track in 31.194 seconds (173.110 mph) in Friday night’s qualifying session.

"We were pretty free,” Hornish said back in the garage after making his run.  “We just couldn't get it through the corner the way that we needed to. The track tightened up a little bit throughout practice as everything started to cool off. Then the track went free tonight, but we have a pretty good direction for Sunday. All in all, it wasn't a terrible lap by any means. I think that we'll be inside the top 15 to start the race. I'm more worried about race day than I am qualifying day. We have a fast Shell-Pennzoil Dodge. We'll just see what we can do to make our car better tomorrow in practice. We found some stuff today that will help for Sunday. I feel pretty good about it."

Joey Logano claimed the Coors Light Pole Award here tonight with his fast lap of 30.672 seconds (176.056 mph).  Marcos Ambrose will start on the outside pole on Sunday after turning in a lap of 30.979 seconds (175.342 mph).  Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski, going after the first NASCAR Sprint Cup points title in team history, starts third after clocking in with a lap of 30.841 seconds (175.092 mph).  Carl Edwards (lap of 30.857 seconds/175.001 mph) will start fourth, with Aric Almirola (lap of 30.877 seconds/174.887 mph) fifth.

Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson rounded out tonight’s top-10 qualifiers.  Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hornish (17th), Paul Menard, Ryan Newman and Trevor Bayne completed the top 20.

With teammate Keselowski leading Johnson by 20 points entering Sunday’s final race, Dodge SRT’s Scott Sebastian asked the former open-wheel champ for Penske Racing about the setting for Sunday’s title showdown.  "I would much rather be the hunted because you have the lead.” Hornish said.  “There are fewer scenarios that you have to lose the championship. If you're coming into the race with any type of margin, it makes things a little easier. There's just a better feel that you have and less things to worry about to accomplish your goal."

Saturday’s schedule here at Homestead-Miami Speedway features practice sessions from 1:00 p.m. till 2:00 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. till 3:50 p.m. (live on SPEED-TV)  Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 (400 miles, 267 laps) has a scheduled 3:00 p.m. EST starting time.  ESPN-TV and MRN Radio will provide live coverage of all the action.