Hornish Finishes 35th at Bristol Motor Speedway BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 22, 2009) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in...
Hornish Finishes 35th at Bristol Motor Speedway
BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 22, 2009) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in the 35th position on Saturday night. Hornish now sits 27th in the 2009 driver point standings, 244 points outside of 20th place.
After starting from the 38th spot, Hornish and the Mobil 1 team were tasked with advancing to the front of the field at the shortest track on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. Hornish displayed patience and control from the onset of the 500-lap race, while the Mobil 1 crew performed consistent pit stops throughout the night.
The methodical approach advanced the team into the top-15 in the latter part of the race when overheating issues coupled with a single-car incident forced Hornish to the garage for repairs. The Mobil 1 team changed the radiator on the race car and Hornish was able to complete the race, earning a 35th-place finish.
"Overall, we ran a pretty smart race and the team was able to make positive adjustments to the Mobil 1 Dodge to help us work our way up front," said Hornish. "We were running in the top-15 when the temperatures began to rise. I got into the wall shortly after and when I came to pit road we realized that we needed to change the radiator. I'm proud of our team tonight and we had another strong run going even if the finish doesn't reflect it."
Once racing action began, Hornish reported that the Mobil 1 machine needed to have better drive off of the corners. When the caution flag came out on lap 63, he was running in the 29th spot. Hornish came to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. He restarted the race from the 28th position.
As racing action continued, Hornish reported that the Mobil 1 Dodge ran better in the outside line of the race track. He pitted under caution on lap 165 for four tires, fuel and a left-rear wedge adjustment as the No. 77 crew continued to improve the balance of the racecar. By the midpoint of the race, Hornish was running in the 18th position with 25 cars on the lead lap.
Hornish relayed that the Mobil 1 Dodge was much improved in the second half of the race, noting that it remained tight in the center of the turns but was pretty good overall. By lap 300, Hornish was running solidly inside the top-20. After making what the team felt would be the last pit stop of the race on lap 422, Hornish was running in 15th place when the temperatures began to rise on the No. 77 car.
After the overheating issue surfaced, Hornish was involved in a single-car incident on lap 459 and came to pit road for service and repairs. While trying to cool the engine on the Mobil 1 Dodge, the team realized that the radiator on the race car was damaged. Hornish was forced to head to the garage so the crew could change the radiator. He was able to return to racing action and ultimately finished the race in the 35th spot.
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and David Stremme finished the race in seventh and 20th place, respectively.
Hornish and the No. 77 team will enjoy a weekend off before heading to the first night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 6, 2009.