Hornish Finishes 32nd in Daytona 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, earned a 32nd-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 on...
Hornish Finishes 32nd in Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, earned a 32nd-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 on Sunday.
After qualifying in the 29th position, Hornish had to start from the rear of the field after the No. 77 team had to unload the backup car following the Gatorade Duel qualifying race on Thursday. Hornish reported early that the race car was a little loose-handling and was running in the 20th position when NASCAR displayed a "competition caution" following lap 25 due to overnight rains changing racing conditions at Daytona International Speedway.
The Mobil 1 machine came to pit road for service and restarted the race running 20th in the order. Hornish noted elevated water temperatures due to excessive debris on the grille of the No. 77 car and was forced to fall out of the draft to get the Mobil 1 Dodge into clean air to try and free the debris.
When the caution came out on lap 55, Hornish brought the car to the pits for much needed service and the grille was cleaned. He restarted the race in the 38th position.
At the scheduled midpoint of the 200-lap race, Hornish was posted in 24th place with impending weather on the horizon. Shortly after, Hornish noted that the water temperatures of the Mobil 1 Dodge were again on the rise due to debris on the grille. He once again pulled out of the draft to regulate the temperatures.
Hornish and the Mobil 1 team worked tirelessly to regain position on track, but rain brought out the red flag and ultimately forced an end to the race after 152 laps. Hornish finished in the 32nd position.
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and David Stremme finished the race in 10th place and 33rd place, respectively.
"Overall, I was really impressed with the Mobil 1 Dodge," said Hornish. "We had a really good race car, but unfortunately the end result doesn't show it. It was frustrating to have to pull out of the draft, but we were trying to race smart and be there at the end. I'm really proud of this team and we are looking forward to a strong run in California."
Hornish and the No. 77 team return to racing action next Sunday at the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway.