Late-Race Accident Relegates Hornish to 24th at Talladega TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 25, 2010) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Penske Truck Rental/AAA Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 24th in the Aaron's...
Late-Race Accident Relegates Hornish to 24th at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 25, 2010) -- Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 77 Penske Truck Rental/AAA Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, finished 24th in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. Hornish now sits 28th in the 2010 Cup Series driver point standings, 89 points outside of 25th place.
With severe storms cancelling track activity on Saturday, Hornish lined up to start the race in the 29th spot after qualifying was called off and the field was set by points. NASCAR called for a "competition caution" on lap 20 to allow the teams to adjust to the track conditions after the weekend rains. When the yellow flag was displayed, Hornish was running in the seventh position and he relayed that the Penske Truck Rental/AAA Dodge was handling well. Hornish came to pit road for right-side tires and fuel and restarted the race on lap 23 in fourth place.
Hornish continued to run strong and was pushed into the lead by the No. 55 car of Michael Waltrip on lap 59, marking the first lap led for Hornish in 2010. Hornish came to pit road for the first round of green flag pit stops on lap 64 while running in 10th place. The No.77 crew quickly changed four tires, added fuel and performed a right-rear wedge adjustment. When pit stops cycled through, Hornish was running in the 15th spot.
Hornish was able to avoid a multi-car accident on lap 83 by coming low on the track surface. He came to pit road for four tires out of concern that the rubber on the car may have been damaged in the move. He restarted the race with 100 laps to go in the 21st position.
With 50 remaining, Hornish reported that he was pleased with the handling of the No. 77 Dodge, although he was running in 32nd place, near the rear of the pack. Hornish reported "I'm right where I want to be."
The final round of pit stops occurred under green flag conditions with Hornish coming to pit road on lap 146 for four tires, fuel and a right-rear wedge adjustment. When pit stops cycled through, Hornish was running 29th and set to make a final push in the waning laps of the race.
A late-race caution set the stage for a green/white/checkered flag finish with Hornish posted in 23rd place. He was collected in a multi-car accident on the green flag lap, forcing another caution as NASCAR prepared for another attempt at a race restart. Hornish came to pit road for repairs and restarted the race in the 20th spot. Another caution occurred on the ensuing restart and NASCAR was forced to make a third and final attempt at a green/white/checkered flag finish. With everyone low on fuel, Hornish experienced a fuel pick up issue on the restart but was able to take the checkered flag in the 24th position.
"Our Penske Truck Rental/AAA Dodge was on its way to having a really good day when we got collected in a spin late during a green/white/checker restart," said Hornish. "The first part of our day was solid. We started 29th, gained track position and ran up front. We tried to be patient in the middle of the race and just ran into a fuel issue at the end. We were close on mileage and had a (fuel) pick-up issue at the end."
Penske Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski finished the race in eighth place and 34th place, respectively.
Hornish and the No. 77 team head to Richmond International Raceway for the Crown Royal presents the Heath Calhoun 400 on Saturday, May 1, 2010.