Hornish Starting 29th in Irwin Tools Night Race

August 24, 2012

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 24, 2012) – Sam Hornish Jr. will start the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge from the 29th position in Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race here at Bristol Motor Speedway after this afternoon’s qualifying session was rained out.  The field was set by a combination of results from the first practice and the current NASCAR Sprint Cup car owner points.

Hornish clocked in with the 30th-fastest practice lap and the No. 22 team is currently 22nd in car owner points.  The rule book specifies:  If first practice is run [which it was], but qualifying is unable to take place, the starting lineup will be based on speeds from the car's fastest lap from the first practice, with top-35 cars in owner points no longer segregated from the non-top 35 cars. The top-35 make the race, then, past champions not already in per top-35 [none], then past race winners from 2011-2012 not already in by top-35 [none], then by race attempts [ties broken by owners points position]. After the 43 drivers eligible are set, the field is set by first practice speeds. #13-Casey Mears would start first [not credited with a pole or for the Shootout]. Missing the race are: #37-Yeley, #95-Speed, #79-Bires and #91-Sorenson.

“I figured we were starting 30th because of the first practice, but 29th is better because it’ll be in the preferred inside lane,” crew chief Todd Gordon offered.  “We have to wait until in the morning to choose our spot on pit road and we’ll look closely at that.  Sam will get a lot of seat time here out there tonight (in the Nationwide Series race).  Hopefully, he has a strong run tonight and we can follow that up with a competitive run tomorrow night.”

Scott Speed had clocked in with the 29th-fastest lap, but was not eligible to start there due to car owner points.  That moved Hornish up from 30th to 29th.

Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race (500 laps, 266.5 miles) Sprint Cup race has a 7:30 p.m. EDT starting time, with ABC-TV and PRN Radio presenting live coverage.  Due to some ABC affiliates carrying telecasts of NFL pre-season football games or other programming on Saturday night, the race will air regionally on ESPN2 in some markets.