Sam Hornish Jr. Involved in Early -Accident in California FONTANA, Cal. (February 25, 2008) - Sam Hornish Jr. and the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 team headed to California this week with the momentum of an impressive run in the Daytona 500.
Sam Hornish Jr. Involved in Early -Accident in California
FONTANA, Cal. (February 25, 2008) - Sam Hornish Jr. and the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 team headed to California this week with the momentum of an impressive run in the Daytona 500. After rain washed out qualifying, Hornish Jr. lined up to start the Auto Club 500 in the seventh position. Unfortunately, he was involved in an early-race accident and finished the race in 43rd place.
Rainy weather wreaked havoc on track activities throughout the race weekend at the newly-named Auto Club Speedway. After practice and qualifying were cancelled due to inclement weather on Friday, the Sprint Cup Series only had 17 laps of practice on Saturday. With so little time on track, many teams were in the position of wondering how the cars would handle in race conditions.
As the start of the race approached, crew chief Chris Carrier radioed Hornish Jr. with words of advice.
"Be nice and smooth as we get started," said Carrier. "There will be a lot of guessing at the beginning of the race but we may be better than we think. We'll adjust the car accordingly on the first pit stop."
On lap 13, Hornish Jr. radioed that the Mobil 1 Dodge was loose on entry and tight in the center of the turns.
The first caution of the race came out on lap 15 for an accident in turn three. Hornish Jr. brought the Mobil 1 Dodge to pit road on lap 16 for four tires, fuel, wedge and air pressure adjustments. He restarted the race on lap 18 in 24th position.
Just three laps later, Hornish Jr. was involved in a fiery multi-car accident in turn two. The Mobil 1 Dodge was damaged beyond repair and the team finished the race in a disappointing 43rd place.
"I was in the middle of two other cars when I saw the smoke up ahead," said Hornish Jr. "Everybody checked up and I had nowhere to go. Unfortunately, I got into the back of the No. 41 car (driven by Reed Sorenson) and pushed the hood of the Mobil 1 Dodge up to where I couldn't see anything in front of me. I lost the steering and was up against the wall when I ran into Casey Mears."
"There were a lot of 'weepers' between the first and second groove," continued Hornish Jr. on the track conditions. "You couldn't really cross that center section but as the race went on it was going to get better and better out there. It's a shame for the Mobil 1 team because we need as many points as we can to keep moving forward."
Hornish Jr. and the Mobil 1 team head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend for the excitement of the UAW-Dodge 400. The race will be televised live on FOX beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, March 2, 2008. Racing action will also be broadcast live on PRN Radio at 4:30 p.m. EST.
Hornish Jr. will also compete in his first NASCAR Nationwide Series event of the season next weekend in Las Vegas. The Sam's Town 300 will air live on ESPN2 on Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. EST. Racing action will also be broadcast live on PRN at 4:30 p.m. EST.