BRISTOL, Tenn. – Sam Hornish, Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Detroit Genuine Parts Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), brought home a top-10 finish in the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday evening. The result marks Hornish’s 11th consecutive top-10 finish this season.
Hornish started from the ninth position after he lapped the newly resurfaced high-banked half-mile oval in 15.905 seconds at an average speed of 96.649 miles per hour in the Friday afternoon qualifying session. The Detroit Genuine Parts Dodge started the race strong with Hornish working his way into the top-five by lap 13. Hornish reported early in the race that the tachometer was not working, which would present challenges during pit stops. The first of which occurred at lap 44, as NASCAR called the predetermined competition caution six laps early while under caution for an on track incident.
The Defiance, Ohio native reported that his Dodge Challenger was too free on corner entry, too tight in the center of the turn and that he lacked drive off of the corner. Crew chief Chad Walter called for air pressure and chassis adjustments during the first stop along with four tires and fuel. The four tire stop cost the Penske Dodge a little bit of track position as a few of the front runners took two tires.
When the green flag restarted the action at lap 53 the Detroit Genuine Parts Dodge was scored 11th. Hornish would stay in the top-12 until a lap 113 caution brought the opportunity for a pit stop, which occurred at lap 117. During this stop crew chief Chad Walter called for two tires, chassis and air pressure adjustments. The two tire strategy paid dividends as Hornish was scored seventh when the action resumed at lap 121.
Over the waning laps of the race Hornish continued to work with a car that was lacking rear grip and at lap 238, he went a bit high in Turn 4 and brushed the wall. He was able to continue on but the contact cost him a few spots. A late-race caution gave the Penske Racing driver the opportunity to make up a few spots, and he did so as he brought home a 10th place finish.
“We were just a little off on our set-up tonight,” said Hornish. “The Detroit Genuine Parts crew worked on it throughout the race, but we just didn’t get a handle on it. We gave it our best though and managed to bring home a top-10 finish. I was hoping to do a little better than that, but hopefully we learned something. We will regroup this week and head to Atlanta next weekend.”
With the result Hornish and the No. 12 Detroit Genuine Parts Dodge team slip one position – to third place in the championship standings.
Penske Racing teammate, Brad Keselowski finished 32nd in the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger.
Hornish and the No. 12 Penske Dodge team will next race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NRA Warrior 300 on Saturday, September 1. Coverage will air live beginning at 6:30 PM EST on ESPN2. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90.