MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 30, 2008) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, persevered in his first race at the .526-mile Martinsville Speedway. After qualifying 26th for the ...
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 30, 2008) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, persevered in his first race at the .526-mile Martinsville Speedway. After qualifying 26th for the Goody's Cool Orange 500, Hornish Jr. and his team worked through the caution-filled event and finished in the 28th position.
"We've got a lot of laps to run here today," crew chief Chris Carrier radioed his team as the field approached the green flag. "We're up to the task today, so let's have fun this afternoon."
When the first of 16 cautions came out on lap 20, Hornish Jr. was running in the 36th position. He radioed that the Mobil 1 Dodge was loose on the exit of the turns, so much so that he could not get back on the throttle quickly.
Hornish Jr. made a pit stop on lap 23 for four tires, fuel, wedge and track bar adjustments. He restarted the race on lap 24 in the 41st position.
Determined to work his back up through the field, Hornish Jr. began posting lap times comparable to those of the leaders. When a caution came out on lap 43, he was running in 31st place. He reported that the initial adjustments had improved the Mobil 1 Dodge.
On the second stop, the team changed right-side tires and added fuel. Hornish Jr. picked up two spots on the restart advancing to 29th place.
It was only a little more than ten laps later when another caution flag waved and Hornish Jr. reported that the Mobil1 Dodge was running well. He came to pit road on lap 60 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment, restarting the race on lap 64 in 36th place.
By lap 100, Hornish Jr. was still listed in the 36th position on the lead lap. Bad luck struck on lap 107, when the Mobil 1 Dodge sustained minor damage in a multi-car accident. Hornish Jr. came to pit road for minor repairs, as well as four tires, fuel and further adjustments.
Hornish Jr. continued to battle for position on track. On lap 165, he radioed to the team that the Mobil 1 Dodge was loose entering and exiting the turns. When the caution flag waved on lap 180, he came to pit road for four tires, fuel and track bar adjustments.
By lap 200, Hornish relayed that the adjustments helped the car at corner-exit. By the mid-point of the race, he was listed in the 31st position running one lap down to then leader Jimmie Johnson.
On lap 260, Hornish Jr. unexpectedly spun in turn 2 bringing out the 10th caution of the day. Luckily the mishap did not cause major damage to the Mobil 1 Dodge and the team continued to compete after a quick pit stop for four tires and fuel as well as air pressure, wedge and track bar adjustments.
A series of cautions ensued and the opted not to make pit stops. Hornish Jr. held position and restarted the race after each caution in 32nd place.
The Mobil 1 team continued to make adjustments to the race car as Hornish Jr. raced for valuable owner points until the checkered flag waved at lap 500. He finished the race in the 28th position. The No. 77 team fell to 36th place in the owner points standings by three points.
"I got a lot of experience today," said Hornish Jr. "We struggled to stay on the lead lap but did a pretty good job at staying one lap down. We hit the wall and fell two laps down. It was pretty tough but I am proud of the guys on the Mobil 1 team. We didn't ever give up. We will keep working hard and doing our best."