Daytona 500: Sam Hornish Jr preview

Mobil 1 Team News and Notes of Interest • Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, garnered attention in his stock car racing debut at Daytona International Speedway last year. After an impressive ninth-place...

Mobil 1 Team News and Notes of Interest

• Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, garnered attention in his stock car racing debut at Daytona International Speedway last year. After an impressive ninth-place finish in the first Gatorade Duel, Hornish secured a 15th-place result for the No. 77 team in the Daytona 500 after running inside the top 10 for much of the race. Then teammate Ryan Newman captured the first Daytona 500 win for the Penske Racing organization that night with drafting help from fellow Penske driver and second-place finisher, Kurt Busch.

• Hornish has two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Daytona International Speedway with an average starting position of 30.5 and an average finishing position of 22.

• The Mobil 1 team will unload PRS-530 for the season-opening Daytona 500. This chassis was last raced by Hornish at Talladega Superspeedway in April 2008 when a blown tire relegated the team to a 35th-place finish. The backup car, PRS-592, is a brand new race car.

• This time last year, Hornish and wife Crystal were anticipating the birth of their first child as well as preparing for the first Daytona 500 for the three-time IndyCar Series champion. The family celebrated daughter Addison Faith's first birthday on February 4, 2009.

• Hornish will be on hand to sign autographs at the Penske Racing souvenir trailer on Sunday, February 15, 2009 from 10:45-11:15 a.m. ET.

Sam Hornish Jr. on Daytona International Speedway
"The Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the year and I'm really excited to get my sophomore season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series underway. We ran well in the Daytona 500 last year as a team and I feel that we should have had a top-10 finish, but we got shuffled back in the last few laps. That may have been partly because of the yellow stripe on our back bumper, so hopefully with that gone, we will finish stronger this year.

"Looking forward into the 2009 season, I really think that we should be able to consistently run inside the top 20. At the end of the season, I will view our effort as a success if we are in the top 20 in points. With all that I learned last year as well as the changes we have made during the off-season, I feel that this is a realistic goal for me and this No. 77 team."

Crew Chief Travis Geisler on Daytona International Speedway
"As an organization, we are excited to return to Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500. Having been on the winning crew last year with the No. 12 Dodge, I am ready to do my part in hopefully repeating history for Penske Racing. We had competitive cars across the board last year and I feel we will be just as competitive this year.

"Sam had a strong showing in the Daytona 500 last year and has more experience with restrictor plate racing throughout last season. He's had a full season to learn the stock car, to practice the draft and the gain the respect of his fellow drivers. Now that the yellow stripe is off the bumper of the Mobil 1 Dodge, we hope to be more of a factor in the draft, especially in the final laps when it counts the most."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Travis Geisler , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske