Michigan International Speedway
Sam Hornish Jr. finishes 24th in the Alliance Truck Parts 250
Sam Hornish Jr, driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger, finished 24th Saturday afternoon in the Alliance Truck Parts 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Michigan International Speedway. This event marked the sixth NNS race of the 2011 season for Hornish and his third start in the black and yellow colors of the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge.
Hornish started from the second position, after posting a qualifying time of 39.867 seconds or 180.600 miles per hour during Saturday morning’s qualifying session. This marked the second time that the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge started in the outside pole position this season, following another runner-up performance in Richmond. The No. 12 Dodge Challenger started the race strong and by lap three Hornish battled the No. 33 car of Paul Menard and the No. 60 machine of Carl Edwards to take over race lead.
As the race progressed, crew chief, Chad Walter and Hornish started to discuss possible pit strategies and ways to improve passing race traffic on the track. On lap 36, Walter called the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge down pit road for a green flag stop in order to change all four tires and fill the car with fuel. Hornish left pit road in the 10th position, ready to race his way back up towards the front.
On lap 43, as the yellow flag was displayed for debris on the track, Hornish reported that the car was loose on the bottom of the track and tight in the middle of the turns. Walter and the team addressed these issues by making spring rubber and track bar adjustments.
After he restarted the race in the 10th position, Hornish found himself piloting his Dodge Challenger back into the top-five. On lap 56 the No. 12 car made slight contact with the back of the No. 31 of Justin Allgaier, which resulted in Keselowski spinning his Challenger and bringing out the third caution of the afternoon. On the ensuing stop, the Alliance Truck Parts crew decided to take fuel only when Hornish came down pit road. He restarted the race in the sixth position as Penske Racing teammate, Brad Keselowski, led the cars to the green flag for the restart on lap 59.
In an effort to get ahead of the rest of the field, Walter called Hornish down pit road early on lap 90 in order to replace all four Goodyear tires, fill the fuel and a spring rubber adjustment designed to improve the tight condition in the middle of the turns. Unfortunately, this strategy backfired for the No.12 when the No. 88 of Aric Almirola brought out the caution flag just two laps later to put the with the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge one lap down.
With just 22 laps left in the race, Hornish found himself battling race traffic and trying to gain track position in order to receive the “Lucky Dog” award when the next caution flag flew. Having received the wave around, Hornish started in the rear of the field but had to make an unscheduled stop on lap 108 for a flat right front tire. This put the No. 12 Dodge two laps down in the 24th position, where Hornish would eventually finish the race.
“We practiced well and qualified well,” said Hornish. “At the start of the race, we tried to stay up front, but I was losing the back end of the car off the corner and we fell back. We tried to be smart and stop a little early for our final stop, but the yellow flag came out. We did get the wave around, but that put us in the back. I was trying to get around traffic, got up high and into the wall, which cut down a tire. We had good stops and a good chance to get a pretty good finish with 25 laps to go, but that tire issue ended up hurting us.”
-source: penske racing