Early Race Contact Relegates Hornish to 35th-Place

October 13, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  (October 12, 2012) – Sam Hornish, Jr., driver of the No. 12 WURTH Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished 35th in the Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday evening. The undesirable outcome was the result of contact at lap 12 and a subsequent lengthy period in the garage to repair the injured vehicle.

Hornish began the 200-lap race from the 10th position, based on his lap of 29.984 seconds, or 180.096 miles per hour, around the 1.5 mile oval. The race started off with a first lap caution that would see the first 10 laps of event run under the yellow flag. As the racing began in earnest on the 11th lap Hornish was scored in the seventh position.

Over the next two laps he would be shuffled back to the 10th spot. At lap 12, contact between the No. 12 Wurth Dodge and the No. 31 car sent Hornish into the outside wall where the right-front corner of the Penske machine incurred substantial damage.

Crew chief Chad Walter made a rapid assessment of the damage and directed Hornish to drive the wounded car directly to the garage. The Penske Dodge crew worked with pace and precision as they attended the injured race car. The No. 12 machine spent nearly half of the race in the garage, but it was able to rejoin the action at lap 106 scored 95 laps down to the leaders in the 41st position.

Hornish immediately went to work lapping the 1.5-mile oval at speeds very close to those of the leader in a car that was hastily repaired and had a significant amount of bodywork patching and taping.

The team gave it their best and was able to improve to 35th in the running order by the time the checkered flag signaled the end of the race.

Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski finished  18th in the Dollar General 300  Friday evening.

Following Friday night’s result, Hornish and the No. 12 Penske Dodge team remain fourth in the NNS championship standings.

“Early in the race we thought we had a great Wurth Dodge,” said Hornish.  “I restarted on the bottom when it was all dusty and I guess the end of the story is I got cleared and I wasn’t clear. My spotter does a great job, but he made a mistake. I feel really bad that it cost the guys that work on the Wurth Dodge and it also cost Justin (Allgaier) and his guys, too. It’s real unfortunate but when you’re going the speeds that we’re going whether it’s the driver or the spotter, anybody makes a mistake it’s usually pretty costly.  It’s a bummer, but I’ll forgive him and we’ll move on.”    

The No. 12 Penske Dodge team will next compete at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, October 20, in the Kansas Lottery 300. Coverage will air live beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90