Sam Hornish Jr. Has Impressive Debut at Daytona Finishing 15th DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 17, 2008) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge, enjoyed a notable debut in his first Daytona 500. After starting in the...
Sam Hornish Jr. Has Impressive Debut at Daytona Finishing 15th
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 17, 2008) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge, enjoyed a notable debut in his first Daytona 500. After starting in the 19th position, Hornish Jr. ran inside the top-10 for a most of the race and was the top-finishing rookie with an impressive 15th place finish.
"Have a fun day and night," crew chief Chris Carrier radioed his driver before the start of the race. "You looked good out there yesterday. Just keep doing what you've been doing all week and we'll have a good day."
By lap 8, Hornish Jr. had worked his way into the top 10 in the running order posted in the 10th position. He continued his steady progress toward the front of the field and broke into the top-five on lap 20, running in fourth place. He reported that the Mobil 1 Dodge was a little tight on exit of turn four.
Hornish Jr. made his first pit stop of the race on lap 35, running in the sixth position. He came to pit road for four tires and fuel. When green flag pit stops cycled through, Hornish Jr. was posted in seventh place.
Remaining in the top 10, Hornish Jr. reported a heavy vibration on lap 57 and came to pit road for four tires and fuel. The Mobil 1 team took no chances with tire wear concerns a constant throughout Speedweeks.
Although Hornish Jr. fell to the back of the field, green flag pit stops commenced shortly after he came to pit road. When the stops were complete, he moved back into the top-10 in the ninth position.
After the pit work Hornish Jr. reported that the Mobil 1 Dodge was "a little free but still better than most of the other guys in the middle of the turns."
When the caution came out for debris on lap 81, Hornish Jr. came to bit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. He restarted the race in the 19th position. By lap 100, he was running in 13th place, intent on working his way back into the top-10.
Green flag pit stops began again and Hornish Jr. came to pit road on lap 122 for four tires and fuel. He moved to 14th place once that round of pit stops cycled through.
When the caution came out on lap 162 for an accident in turn four, Hornish Jr. was forced to come down pit road to avoid the wreckage. Taking on four tires and fuel, Hornish Jr. restarted the race in the 22nd position.
With teammates relaying support for running a good race, Hornish Jr. avoided involvement in the series of incidents and cautions over the final 15 laps of the race. On a benchmark evening for Penske Racing, Hornish Jr. finished the Daytona 500 in 15th place as the top-finishing rookie.
Teammates Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch finished the race in first and second place respectively.
"I am very proud of our team tonight," said Hornish Jr. "We had a good night on track and on pit road. A 15th place finish is very respectable considering this is a new team for the Penske Racing organization. I am proud to be a part of Penske Racing and I want to be a part of the team winning its first Cup championship. I am very happy tonight for both Ryan and Kurt, and particularly (team owner) Roger Penske."