Hornish Finishes 21st in Ford 300
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 20, 2010) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the No. 26 Alliance Parts Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, finished 21st in the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway after battling a tight-handling race car for much of the race.
Hornish marked his return to Nationwide Series competition for the first time since 2008 this weekend and reunited with his former Cup Series crew chief Chris Carrier for Saturday's season-finale race. After starting the 300-mile feature event from the 12th position, Hornish reported that the Alliance Parts Dodge was tight-handling under acceleration on the exit of the corners.
The Alliance Parts Dodge team worked to improve the handling of the No. 26 machine during pit stops over the first half of the race. Even though the tight condition persisted, Hornish maintained position inside the top 20 as the field approached the midpoint of the 200-lap race.
When the caution flag waved on lap 135, Hornish reported that the handling on the Alliance Parts Dodge remained unchanged and that he needed to be able to roll through the center of the corners with more speed. After coming to pit road for substantial adjustments, the No. 26 team opted to return to the pits before the race restart to top off with fuel. Inside their fuel window to make it to the checkered flag, the move marked the final pit stop of the evening for the Alliance Parts team.
Despite a series of late-race cautions, Hornish remained on track and was posted in the eighth spot on the final race restart on lap 178. Poised for a strong finish in his debut race with Alliance Parts, Hornish lost several positions on track to race competitors with newer tires in the closing laps of the race. When the checkered flag waved, Hornish crossed the start/finish line in 21st place.
Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and Justin Allgaier finished the race in third and 11th place, respectively.
"We worked on the Alliance Parts Dodge for most of the night," said Hornish. "We were way too tight, but someone how we managed to make a solid run to the end. We got caught on old tires late in the race and lost some spots to finish 21st. We ran inside the top 15, the top 10 during parts of the night. We just didn't have anything to run with the leaders at the end of the race."