Sam Hornish Jr. Finishes 37th at Chicagoland Speedway July 13, 2008 JOLIET, Ill. (July 12, 2008) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, made his NASCAR racing debut at Chicagoland...
Sam Hornish Jr. Finishes 37th at Chicagoland Speedway July 13, 2008
JOLIET, Ill. (July 12, 2008) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, made his NASCAR racing debut at Chicagoland Speedway in the LifeLock.com 400 on Saturday night, finishing in 37th place. Starting from the 35th position, Hornish and team worked relentlessly to improve the handling of his Mobil 1 Dodge throughout the race, but were unable to make up lost laps.
Due to the hard work by the No. 77 team in a tough race, the group now sit 34th in the 2008 NASCAR Cup Series owner points standings, an improvement of one spot.
After qualifying was cancelled due to inclement weather on Thursday night, Hornish lined up to start the scheduled 267 lap race in 35th place. As green flag racing commenced, Hornish radioed that the Mobil 1 Dodge was loose-handling on entry into the corners as well as on exit.
On lap 35, NASCAR displayed a "competition caution" flag due to the changed track conditions resulting from heavy rains over the race weekend. Hornish came to pit road on lap 37 for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. He restarted the race on lap 39 in 30th place.
Post-stop, Hornish radioed the team that the overall handling on the Mobil 1 Dodge was good, but that it seemed slow getting up to speed on track.
The second caution of the night came out on lap 47 and Hornish came to pit road for right side tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Quick pit-stop work and strategy by the Mobil 1 team allowed Hornish to gain four spots in the running order. He restarted the race in 26th place on lap 52.
After several laps, Hornish relayed that the two-tire move made the Mobil 1 machine much tighter than expected. By lap 75, the No. 77 Dodge was loose on entry into the turns and tight on exit. When a slow cycle of green-flag pit stops began at lap 90, the Mobil 1 team prepared to bring Hornish back to pit road.
Running in 31st place, Hornish pitted on lap 98 for four tires, fuel and the reversal of the previous air pressure adjustment. Once the field of competitors completed their pit stops, Hornish was posted in 33rd place, running one lap down to the leaders.
By the midpoint of the 400.5-mile race, Hornish was posted in the 31st position, still running one lap down to the race leader.
When the caution came out again on lap 141, Hornish was running in the 30th position and radioed the team that the Mobil 1 Dodge was handling, "better than the run before and much better than on the two-tire stop."
Hornish came to pit road for four fresh tires, a tank of fuel, air pressure and wedge adjustments, lining up to restart the race in the 33rd position. Mobil 1 team crew chief Chris Carrier encouraged both his driver and team as the field prepared to take the green flag.
"We've got a long way to go in this race and we are going to keep working on things," radioed Carrier to Hornish. "We'll make the car better and drive right up through the field. You're doing a great job out there."
The latter half of the race saw a series of caution periods and the Mobil 1 crew continued to make adjustments to the race car. In addition, Hornish was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop due to a flat right-front tire. He was unable to overcome the deficit in laps and finished the LifeLock.com 400 in 37th place.
"We started off pretty good. We were real happy with the car during the first part of the race," said Hornish. "I'm not really sure what happened but it was pretty frustrating night for all of us on the Mobil 1 team. |
"I was really happy the guys gave me some great pit stops tonight and that's probably the only thing that kept us finishing as well as we did. We'll keep pushing at it and hopefully we'll get it figured out sooner than later."
Penske Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch finished the race in 10th and 28th place, respectively.