Sonoma: Sam Hornish Jr. preview

Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, overcame an early, unscheduled pit stop at Infineon Raceway last season to run inside the top-10 for much of the first half of the race. Running as high as sixth, Hornish...

Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, overcame an early, unscheduled pit stop at Infineon Raceway last season to run inside the top-10 for much of the first half of the race. Running as high as sixth, Hornish was hit from behind shortly after a mid-race restart and lost valuable track position. A late-race incident in Turn 11 relegated the team to a 38th-place finish.

Hornish and the Mobil 1 team have been preparing for the first road course race of the season with recent test sessions at Virginia International Raceway. No stranger to Infineon Raceway, Hornish has a total of five starts across NASCAR and IndyCar Series competition at the venue. In total, he has two top-10 results with a career-best finish of fifth at the 1.99-mile road course, all coming in IndyCar Series competition.

Hornish will celebrate Father's Day at Infineon Raceway this Sunday with his wife, Crystal, and two-year-old daughter Addison Faith.

In 35 Cup Series starts at Infineon Raceway, Penske Racing has one victory with Rusty Wallace (1996) and two pole awards to go along with 10 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes.

Sam Hornish Jr.:

What is the key factor to running well at Infineon Raceway? "To have a good run at Infineon, you have to stay on the island. The racetrack is the island and you have to make sure you don't get off the island. Last year, I think we did a really good job at that and ran inside the top-10 for the first half of the race before getting hit on a restart. It's a tough race; it's a race of attrition. I think it's one of the toughest tracks as far as contact. You're going to get run into or run into to someone in just about every corner."

Where are the best places to pass at Infineon Raceway? "The best places are at the braking zones and on the restarts. Those are the only times you can really pass someone. You have to take a big chance to be able to get it done at those places and times during the race."

Crew Chief Travis Geisler:

What areas do crew chiefs need to focus on for races at road courses like Infineon Raceway? "The best cars don't always seem to finish up front at Infineon Raceway. Fuel mileage plays a vital role in having a successful race. You have to start planning for fuel mileage long before you get to the track. Track position is very important and if you can pit before everyone else without running out of fuel, you usually gain a lot of ground on track.

"Road course racing involves every aspect of the race car from the brakes, to the transmission, shifter, drive train and gears. It is particularly difficult on the engine. So, being there at the end requires a lot of attention to detail in those areas. I really like the Napa Valley area and the first road course race of the year is a good change of pace from the ovals."

-source: penske racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Travis Geisler , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske