WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Sam Hornish, Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 PPG Automotive Refinish Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, earned his third consecutive top-three finish as he brought home a third-place finish – after starting from the pole – in The Zippo 200 at The Glen.
Hornish started from the pole position after he lapped the historic 2.45-mile road course in 72.027 seconds at an average speed of 122.454 miles per hour in the Saturday morning qualifying session. When the green flag waved to begin the 82-lap event Hornish stayed on point and went on to lead until his Penske Racing teammate, Brad Keselowski, passed him at lap 12. During the first stint, the first-year full-time NASCAR Nationwide driver reported that the car was too free on corner entry, yet he held his own running with the lead cars. During the first stop, at lap 23, crew chief Chad Walter called for an air pressure adjustment along with a four tire change and full load of fuel.
After the field cycled through the first round of green flag stops the PPG Automotive Refinish Dodge was scored sixth as they lost a few positions to traffic on the lap preceding the pit stop. At lap 38 the first caution of the day was displayed with Hornish scored fourth in the running order. Hornish radioed that the car was better over the long run, but he needed help early in the run. At lap the 42 the green flag brought the field back up to speed with Hornish scored fourth, but he was shuffled back going into Turn 1 on the restart and lost a few positions.
During the mid-segment of the race the Penske Dodge would run as low as 11th as cars on different strategies would lead several laps, but by lap 64 Hornish drove his way to the fourth position. Over the closing laps, amidst fierce racing at the front of the field, Hornish’s Dodge Challenger advanced to third-place on the strength of great driving by Hornish. The Defiance, Ohio native would hold on to score his third consecutive top-three this season.
“Our PPG Automotive Refinish Dodge was strong today,” said Hornish. “Once again Penske Racing built another great race car and I have to give special thanks to the engine shop for giving us such great engines – I over-revved the engine on missed downshift and it was a big one. We were racing hard out there today – it was fun racing Kyle (Busch), Carl (Edwards) and Brad (Keselowski). At the very end there it was Brad and I going at it and that’s always fun yet tough because you do not want to get over aggressive and wreck your teammate. We also have to keep in mind that we are points racing, whereas the Cup guys are just going for the win. We finished in front of all of the guys we are racing against in the Nationwide Series and gained a spot in the championship standings. Overall it was a great day – now we have to go do the same thing next week at Montreal.”
With the result Hornish and the No. 12 PPG Automotive Refinish Dodge advanced to third in the championship standings trailing first place by 24 points and sit just 11 points out of second-place.
Penske Racing teammate, Brad Keselowski finished second in the No. 22 SKF/Discount Tire Dodge.
Hornish and the No. 12 Penske Dodge team will next race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge on Saturday, August 18. Coverage will air live beginning at 2 PM EST on ESPN. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90.