Hornish Finishes 31st at Bristol Motor Speedway BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 22, 2009) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 31st in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor ...
Hornish Finishes 31st at Bristol Motor Speedway
BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 22, 2009) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 31st in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday.
Hornish started the crucial fifth race of the 2009 season from the 25th spot. With the top-35 in owner points established following the race at .533-mile bullring, Hornish and the Mobil 1 team were intent on running a smart race and solidifying the No. 77 inside the top-35 headed into Martinsville.
After racing action began, Hornish reported that the Mobil 1 Dodge was handling loose through the middle and on exit of the turns. He came to pit road under caution on lap 28 for four tires, fuel, and air pressure and wedge adjustments. Hornish restarted the race on lap 32 in the 35th position.
At a track where it doesn't take long for the leaders to lap the field, Hornish was battling to stay on the lead lap when a fortunate caution flag came out on lap 123. Posted as the first car one lap down to the leaders, Hornish was the recipient of the "free pass" and returned to lead lap racing. He brought the Mobil 1 Dodge to pit road for service and restarted the race on lap 129 once again in the 35th spot.
At the midpoint of the scheduled 500-lap event, Hornish was running in 33rd place, one lap down to the leaders.
In the closing stages of the race, the Mobil 1 team was penalized for pitting outside of its pit box. The penalty cost the No. 77 team one lap. Hornish battled for every position as he finished the race in 31st place following a green/white/checkered flag finish. The No. 77 team is currently 32nd in the 2009 owner point standings, just 90 points away from 25th place.
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and David Stremme finished the race in 11th place and 19th place, respectively.
"It wasn't a great day for us by any means but we did what we came here to do -- finish the race," said Hornish. "We had a mistake on pit road and it ended up costing us a lap. I've got more to learn here at Bristol, but about halfway through the race I figured out how to make the car better and make it do what it's supposed to do. We'll keep working away at it."
Hornish and the No. 77 team head to Martinsville Speedway next weekend for the excitement of the Goody's Fast Relief 500 on Sunday, March 29, 2009.