Archbold, OH

Hornish Finishes 38th At Darlington Raceway

Sam Hornish Jr., finished the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Saturday night, May 10, in a disappointing 38th place due to two separate tire incidents.

The No. 77 team now sits 36th in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup owner points standings, just 18 points outside of the 35th position.

Hornish Jr., an Archbold High School graduate and Indianapolis 500 winner, started the 367-lap event at the 1.366- mile “Lady in Black” in 23rd place.

He brought out the second caution of the night on lap 12 due to a flat right front tire, which caused his car to hit the wall hard and sustain substantial right side damage.

Forced to the garage for repairs, the team quickly went to work fixing the No. 77.

“The handling on the Mobil 1 Dodge was good and we were picking up spots,” said Hornish. “The right front tire went down and the front end of the race car just went straight.

“Unfortunately, sometimes it seems the days we feel good about the car we hit a bump.”

After nearly 45 minutes in the garage, Hornish Jr. rejoined the race on lap 95, in the 42nd posi- tion, 85 laps down to the leader. When green flag pit stops began around lap 115, he radioed that the car was tight-handling overall and had picked up a push.

He came to pit road on lap 126 for four tires, fuel, air pressure and wedge adjustments.

Despite being many laps down, Hornish and his team used the ensuing laps of the race to practice, gain experience and pick up positions, as attrition is always a factor at the storied venue.

“Let’s practice some things and pretend that we’re racing tonight except around lead lap cars,” said Hornish on the radio to his team. “I want to try a few things entering pit road, and our pit stops should be the same as if we are racing on the lead lap.”

By the mid-point of the race, Hornish was posted in the 41st position, running 87 laps down to then-leader Greg Biffle. On lap 206, a flat right rear tire on the car brought Hornish to pit road. The crew changed all four tires and added fuel.

Hornish stayed on track for the remainder of the race and picked up a few positions before the checkered flag waved.

“I guess we have to pay our dues like everyone else,” said Hornish Jr. after the race. “Sooner or later it will turn our way.”

Hornish Jr. will lay it all on the line in the Sprint Showdown qualifying race for the Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, May 17. The top two finishers advance into the million-dollar All-Star Race.- Information courtesy Penske Racing

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