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Hornish Finishes 18th At Dover International

33rd In Owner Points Standings

Sam Hornish Jr, AHS ’98 and 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner, captured his second straight top-20 finish with an 18th place showing in the Best Buy 400 at the one-mile Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Sunday, June 1.

Battling a tight-handling car, Hornish was running in the top 10 when a pit road violation cost the team valuable track position.

Starting from the 16th position, it took only five laps for Hornish to relay his car was loose on entry and tight on the exit of the corners. Ten laps later, an 11-car accident on turn two brought a red flag for over 16 minutes.

With a competition caution on lap 30 due to rain during the practice sessions, the team planned not to pit when the red flag was withdrawn and the yellow flag displayed. However, once pit road was opened, NASCAR declared it the competition caution and Hornish came to pit road for right side tires, fuel, and wedge adjustment.

The two-tire move gained Hornish four spots. He restarted on lap 26 in 10th place.

When the caution flag waved again on lap 66, Hornish reported that the car was free on entry and exit of the corners. He came to pit road on lap 67 for four tires, fuel, track bar and wedge adjustments.

Unfortunately, he was caught speeding on pit road after the stop and was forced to restart the race from the tail end of the longest line on track. He dropped to 30th in the running order but worked through the field.

By lap 100, Hornish was posting top-10 lap times, running 22nd. A long green flag ensued and the field spread out.

On lap 129, Hornish fell one lap down to the leader, still posted in 22nd place.

Running 17th, Hornish pitted under green flag conditions on lap 150, for four tires, fuel, air pressure and wedge adjustments.

Just one lap after rejoining the race, the caution flag waved with Hornish in 22nd place, running one lap down to the leaders.

His team opted not to pit and Hornish restarted the race in 21st. Only 16 cars remained on the lead lap.

By the midpoint of the race, Hornish was in the 21st position, running one lap down to the leader. On lap 210, he fell another lap down to then leader Carl Edwards. Another round of green flag pit stops began around lap 225.

Running 18th, Hornish came to pit road on lap 232 for four tires, fuel, track bar, and wedge adjustments. Just as green flag stops were drawing to a close, the caution flag waved debris. Hornish was in 20th place running two laps down.

He relayed to the team that the handling of the car was unchanged even after the stop. His crew chief made the call to come to pit road on lap 245 for right side tires, fuel, and reversal of the previous wedge adjustment. Keeping fuel mileage in mind, he advised Hornish to be smooth and conserve fuel.

With 100 laps to go, Hornish was 20th, running two laps down to eventual race winner Kyle Busch.

Hornish made his final pit stop under green flag conditions on lap 323. Pitting for four tires, fuel, air pressure and track bar adjustments, he restarted the race in 19th place.

As the race came to an end, Hornish continued to fight for position, racing for valuable owner points in order to return to the top-35 in the Cup Series owner point standings. He crossed the finish line 18th, marking his second straight top-20 finish.

Hornish is 33rd in the 2008 Cup Series owner points standings, a mere 45 points out of 30th place.

“It was a long day for sure. We should have been a lot better than where we ended up,” said Hornish. “I sped out of pit lane and that hurt us. I think we would have had a top-15, so it cost us a couple of spots.

Hornish heads to the Pocono (Pa.) 500 on Sunday, June 8.- Information courtesy Penske Racing

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