Pocono II: Sam Hornish Jr race report

Hornish Scores Fourth-Place Finish at Pocono Raceway LONG POND, Pa. (August 3, 2009) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 PPG Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, scored his career-best NASCAR finish with a...

Hornish Scores Fourth-Place Finish at Pocono Raceway

LONG POND, Pa. (August 3, 2009) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 PPG Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, scored his career-best NASCAR finish with a fourth-place showing in the rain-delayed Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on Monday.

Strong pit strategy, along with a well-timed caution period, propelled Hornish into the third position with 35 laps to go in the race. As Hornish came down pit road for the team's final stop of the race, the caution flag waved. After completing the stop, Hornish found himself near the front of the field and he remained there until taking the checkered flag.

"It was a pretty good race today," said Hornish. "The PPG Dodge was good at the start of the race and then we got really loose in the middle portion. We tried to get some track position with pit strategy and it worked out in our favor. We were able to hold on and get our first top-five finish. It was a lot of fun going out there and racing today. The closer you get up to the front, the more fun it is."

After a weekend plagued by rainy weather that forced the postponement of Sunday's event, racing action in the Pocono Mountains got underway under blue skies on Monday afternoon. Starting from the 29th spot, Hornish set himself to the task of working his way to the front. He reported that the PPG Dodge was a bit tight-handling overall.

When NASCAR called for an early "competition caution" due to rain showers over the weekend, the PPG crew prepared for its first pit stop of the race. On lap 20, Hornish came to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel, along with air pressure and track bar adjustments. After a quick pit stop, he restarted the race in 22nd place.

Hornish continued to make steady progress on track and was posted in the 20th spot after completing the first round of green flag pit stops shortly after lap 50. When a caution flag for debris came out a handful of laps later, the PPG team opted not to make a pit stop in order to gain track position. Hornish restarted the race on lap 65 in 15th place.

When a caution flag flew near the midpoint of the race, Hornish was running in the 22nd position. He came to pit road for right-side tires, fuel and a right-rear wedge adjustment. He restarted the race on lap 101 in 20th place. Using fuel mileage strategy to its advantage, the PPG team was positioned to go the distance of the race on just one additional pit stop.

When Hornish came to pit road under green flag conditions for the PPG's team final stop of the race, the caution flag was displayed. The timing of the caution was fortunate for the No. 77 team as Hornish lined up fourth for the restart. With enough fuel to make it to the checkered flag, Hornish raced his way to a career-best fourth place finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. He now sits 27th in the 2009 driver point standings, just 49 points outside of 25th place.

Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and David Stremme finished the race in ninth and 32nd place, respectively.

Next weekend, Hornish and the Mobil 1 team head to Watkins Glen International for NASCAR's second and final road course race of the season

-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