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Hornish Finishes 23rd in Southern California's Auto Club 500 Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Auto Club Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 23rd in the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in ...

Hornish Finishes 23rd in Southern California's Auto Club 500

Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Auto Club Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 23rd in the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California on Sunday.

Proudly displaying the Auto Club paint scheme on the No. 77 machine, Hornish started the 250-lap event in the 26th position. He steadily raced his way through the field and ran inside the top-20 for most of the race.

After the first of five caution periods, Hornish reported the Auto Club Dodge was slightly loose-handling on the entry and exit of the corners and tight-handling through the center of the turns. By the time the first round of green flag pit stops began on lap 82, Hornish was running in the 17th position and the car's loose handling entering the corners was his biggest concern. After coming to pit road for service, Hornish was once again running 17th when pit stops cycled through.

Another round of green flag pit stops began shortly before the midpoint of the race and Hornish had worked his way into the top-15 in the running order. He came to pit road for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. As green flag stops concluded, Hornish was running 18th with the race leaders close behind the Auto Club Dodge.

As racing action progressed, Hornish and the Auto Club team continued to work toward the front. However, a difficult pit stop and a penalty on pit road proved costly to the team. Hornish raced tirelessly to regain position on track and ultimately secured a 23rd-place finish for the No. 77 team.

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and David Stremme finished the race in fifth place and 13th place, respectively.

"The Auto Club Dodge was definitely better than where we finished tonight," said Hornish, who improved to 29th in the driver point standings with the result. "We had a couple of problems on pit road that cost us some positions but a 23rd-place finish is respectable. Tonight was a marked improvement over our races here last season. It was a decent points finish for this team and we are looking forward to getting back on track in Las Vegas."

Hornish and the No. 77 team head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend for the excitement of the Shelby 427 on Sunday, March 1, 2009.

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , David Stremme , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske