NASCAR XFINITY Series Race Report - Mid-Ohio

August 13, 2017

Track:                    Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Race:                     Mid-Ohio Challenge
Date:                     August 12, 2017

No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang – Sam Hornish Jr.
Start:  1st (9th-career NASCAR XFINITY Series pole)
Finish: 1st (5th-career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory)
Status: Running
Laps Completed:  75/75
Laps Led: 61
Owner's Points Position (ahead of second): 1st (+116)

Recap: Sam Hornish Jr. scored the hat trick on Saturday afternoon in the Discount Tire Ford Mustang at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, turning the fastest lap in practice, winning the pole and then dominating the race, leading 61 of 75 laps in earning his fifth-career NASCAR XFINITY Series victory and his first this season. After both of Friday's practice sessions were rained out, NASCAR elected to give the teams a morning practice session. Hornish turned the fastest lap in practice, then followed that up by earning his ninth-career pole in the afternoon's qualifying session behind the wheel of the Discount Tire Ford Mustang. As the race went green, Hornish jumped out to an early lead, pacing the field for the first 17 laps before coming to the pits just three laps prior to the end of stage one. After finishing ninth in stage one, Hornish wasted little time in getting back to the lead on lap 25. Hornish would again pull out to a nearly four-second lead and win stage two, his first stage win of the year. After making his final pit stop at lap 41, Hornish began a torrid battle with Daniel Hemric over the race’s final stage. The two drivers would trade the lead several times between lap 43 and lap 61. However, Hornish would again take the top spot on lap 62 and would never again relinquish it, despite having to deal with several late-race restarts, including two red flag situations. Hornish would cross the line 1.33-seconds ahead of second-place Hemric, earning his third as an XFINITY Series driver for Team Penske and his first at Mid-Ohio, his home track.

Quote:  "What a fantastic day for Team Penske, Discount Tire and all of the guys on this team. We had an excellent Ford Mustang today. The guys worked hard and gave me a great car, from the time we unloaded this thing was a rocket ship. We really knew we had a car that could win this race, it was just up to me to keep it on the track and to not make any mistakes. Everything really played out the way we wanted to as the race played out. We were able to stay up front and keep a pretty comfortable lead. On a couple of restarts, I lost a little bit and allowed the 21 and other guys get in front of me. But I just had to play it smart and I knew they would all come back to me. It's really special for me to win at my home track. This is a place I've raced at all my life – finished second a bunch of times – and never had a chance to win. So to come here, have a car this good and win the race was the perfect day. I can't thank everyone at Team Penske enough."