Daytona 500: Sam Hornish Jr. preview

* Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, will embark on his third full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition this weekend with high expectations for the No. 77 team. Hornish made great strides in 2009...

* Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, will embark on his third full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition this weekend with high expectations for the No. 77 team. Hornish made great strides in 2009 with a total of two top-five and seven top-10 finishes and he is poised for his first victory in a points-awarding NASCAR race in 2010.

* Hornish has competed in a total of two Gatorade Duel qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway finishing inside the top-20 both times with finishes of ninth (2008) and 16th (2009).

* A fan of restrictor-plate racing, Hornish has a total of four Cup Series starts at Daytona with a best finish of 15th (2008). In the 2009 Daytona 500, Hornish was running near the top-20 before debris on the grille of the Mobil 1 machine forced him out of the draft and onto pit road, which relegated the team to a 32nd-place finish.

* In 78 Cup Series starts at Daytona, Penske Racing has one win, when Ryan Newman claimed the checkered flag in the 50th running of the Daytona 500 (2008). Additionally, Penske Racing boasts 18 top-five finishes -- including two each with Bobby Allison and Ryan Newman, five with Kurt Busch, and seven with Rusty Wallace -- and 26 top-10 finishes at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

* Hornish will sign autographs at the Penske Racing souvenir trailer at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, February 11 from 10 -- 10:30 a.m. ET and on Sunday, February 14 from 9:30 -- 10 a.m. ET.

Sam Hornish Jr.

What is your reaction to the recent changes made by NASCAR for superspeedway races like the Daytona 500?

"I am excited about the rules changes that NASCAR has implemented this year for restrictor-plate races like Daytona. We're going to have increased speeds and improved closing rates, which will create more on-track action. Everything that NASCAR is doing is to create more exciting races for the fans while maintaining safety standards and that benefits all of us. I see the Daytona 500 as full of possibilities for the Mobil 1 team, not only for a strong run in the biggest race in our sport, but as a good start for the season ahead."

What are your goals for the 2010 season?

"Last year, we struggled with posting consistent results and that will be a key goal for the Mobil 1 team in 2010. Consistency will lead to better performances, which will make winning races and contending for a spot in the championship Chase strong possibilities. To get there, we need to focus on being competitive at the end of the race and minimizing mistakes both on the track and in the pits. We have a great opportunity to prove what we can do as a team and we need to rise to the occasion starting in Daytona."

Crew Chief Travis Geisler Quotes

What are your thoughts on the season-opening Daytona 500?

"I sat in the stands at Daytona International Speedway for about 10 years before I began working in the sport so it's really special to me. After winning the Daytona 500 in 2008, the only thing I've thought about is winning it again. The team has been working hard to prepare for a great showing in Daytona and I think fans will see some of the best racing in the past few years with the changes NASCAR has made. With no restrictions on bump drafting and bigger restrictor plates, I feel that it will be more like the way racing is meant to be."

-source: penske racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Bobby Allison , Travis Geisler , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske