Hornish Finishes 26th in Duel, Starts 36th in Daytona 500 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 11, 2010) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 26th in Thursday's second Duel ...
Hornish Finishes 26th in Duel, Starts 36th in Daytona 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 11, 2010) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 26th in Thursday's second Duel qualifying race for the Daytona 500. Hornish was running in the third position in the closing laps of the race when engine woes caused the Mobil 1 Dodge to drop off pace and out of the race.
Starting from the fifth spot Thursday afternoon at Daytona international Speedway, Hornish was shuffled to the back of the pack on lap three and began to work his back to the front of the field of 27 competitors. By lap 10, he was running in sixth place and posting consistently fast lap times. Hornish radioed that the No. 77 machine was running a little loose entering the turns.
The only caution flag of the race was displayed on lap 27 with Hornish running in the fifth position. He reported that he was pleased with the handling of the Mobil 1 Dodge as he prepared to make the only pit stop of the race. The No. 77 team opted to pit for four tires and fuel only. Hornish restarted the race on lap 30, the midpoint of the 60-lap event, in seventh place.
Hornish maintained position in and around the top-five in the running order for much of the second half of the race. Working the draft and racing his way into the third position, Hornish was poised for an impressive finish and strong starting spot for the Daytona 500. With five laps to go, engine woes caused the Mobil 1 Dodge to slow and Hornish dropped to the rear of the field. He was forced to the garage with two laps to go and ultimately finished in 26th place.
"I'm not really sure what happened," said Hornish. "The car stopped pulling like it had been. Instead of taking a chance, we decided to bring it in. Unfortunately, we were running third when it happened. We were just hanging back waiting for the last couple of laps so we could try and make a run for the win. We're real happy with the Mobil 1 Dodge and how it handled. It's a long race on Sunday and we'll have a lot of opportunities to move forward if our car handles anywhere near as well as it did today."
"We're real happy with our run," said crew chief Travis Geisler. "Obviously, the result isn't what we wanted but everyone knows that all three Penske Dodges were racing for the lead all day. I think we're going to be able to work together on Sunday and make something special happen. We would have liked to finish higher, but Sam felt something in the car that he didn't like and decided to bring the car to the garage. It was a great decision. We had a top-five finishing car; it just doesn't show on the scoreboard. We'll be in good shape."
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski finished the second Duel in fourth and 12th place, respectively. Hornish will line up to start the 52nd running of the Daytona 500 in 36th place, with Busch starting 10th and Keselowski in the 26th position.
-source: penske racing