FORT WORTH, Texas (April 6, 2008) â€“ Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, is no stranger to Texas Motor Speedway as a three-time IndyCar Series winner and a familiar face and...
FORT WORTH, Texas (April 6, 2008) – Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, is no stranger to Texas Motor Speedway as a three-time IndyCar Series winner and a familiar face and fan favorite in the Lone Star state. Sunday in the Samsung 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Texas, Hornish Jr. drove a calculated race and finished in the 32nd position. The strong effort secured the Mobil 1 team the 34th position in the 2008 owner points standings.
Starting the race from the 17th position, Hornish Jr. and team were intent upon running a smart race at the 1.5-mile quad-oval and regaining a coveted position in the top-35 in the owner points standings at the end of the 500-mile event. After several green flag laps, Hornish Jr. began providing immediate feedback on the race car.
Reporting that the Mobil 1 Dodge was loose on entry into the turns and tight in the center, Hornish Jr. held steady in the 17th position as the first caution of the afternoon came out on lap 28. He came to pit road for four tires and fuel, along with a tire air pressure and track bar adjustment, restarting the race in 21st place.
After the stop, Hornish Jr. reported that the adjustments helped the car on corner exit; however it remained loose on entry and had begun to push in the center of the turns.
When green flag pit stops began around lap 80, the Mobil 1 team sprang into action as Hornish Jr. came down pit road on lap 81 for four tires, fuel and a substantial tire air pressure adjustment. When the pit stops cycled through, he was running in the 31st position, one lap down to the leader.
As a series of cautions ensued, the Mobil 1 team continued to make adjustments to the No. 77 Dodge Charger. By the mid-point of the race, Hornish Jr. was running in the 31st position, remaining just one lap down.
Soon thereafter, an on-track skirmish occurred between Hornish Jr. and the No. 44 driven by David Reutimann resulted in right-front fender damage to the Mobil 1 machine. When a caution came out on lap 175, he brought the race car to pit road for service. In preparation, crew chief Chris Carrier refocused both his driver and team.
“Don’t worry about any of that. We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” radioed Carrier. “It’s important that we don’t lose any laps here because that will be crucial to the outcome of this race. We are focused on the big picture and this could be a good day for us.”
Although the team worked on the Mobil 1 Dodge throughout the remainder of the race, Hornish Jr. battled a tight condition as track conditions changed. He finished the Samsung 500 in 32nd place, enough to regain a solid position in the top-35 in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup owner points standings. Hornish Jr. is currently 34th in the 2008 driver points standings and the Mobil 1 team is 34th in owner points.
Penske Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch finished the race in fourth and 23rd place respectively.