Joliet, Ill. – Sam Hornish, Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 AVIS Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, finished sixth in Saturday afternoon’s Dollar General 300 presented by Coca-Cola. The result marks Hornish’s 18thtop-10 result of the 2012 season.
Hornish qualified for the event in the fourth position after turning a lap of 30.510 seconds, or 176.991 miles per hour, around the 1.5 mile speedway during the Saturday afternoon qualifying session. The Defiance, Ohio native was strong in the opening laps of the 200-lap event as he was able to drive his way from fourth to second within the first two circuits of the track.
An early yellow flag at lap three bunched up the field with Hornish scored in the second position. On the lap seven restart, Hornish made a determined charge for the front in his Dodge Challenger to lead the eighth lap of the race and pick up a valuable championship point. As the race settled into a long green-flag run, Hornish reported that his AVIS Dodge was building tight as the run progressed. Subsequently he slipped back into the top-10.
At lap 38 the second caution of the afternoon set up the first pit stop for the No. 12 AVIS Dodge car and crew. At lap 41, while scored in the 10th position, Hornish brought his Dodge Challenger to the attention of the Penske Racing crew who gave him four fresh tires and fuel along with air pressure and chassis adjustments. The green flag waved at lap 44 with Hornish running 10th but he went to work by carving his way up to sixth by lap 60. He radioed in that his AVIS Dodge was loose on corner entry, tight through the center and loose on corner exit.
Over the middle portion of the race Hornish would run solidly in the top-10. A lap 123 caution flag brought the No. 12 Dodge Challenger another opportunity for the AVIS crew to service their Dodge machine. At lap 125 the Penske Racing crew made air pressure and chassis adjustments while changing four tires and topping off the fuel. During this stop the AVIS Dodge crew picked up two positions for their driver and, on the lap 129 restart, he was shown running in the fifth position. Hornish would hold steady in the top-five for most of the remainder of the event; running as high as second after a late race restart before fading back to sixth as the checkered flag ended the race.
The result marks Hornish’s 18th top-10 of the season and with the outcome Hornish and the No. 12 AVIS Dodge team remain securely in fourth in the championship standings.
“Today we just didn’t quite get a handle on our AVIS Dodge,” said Hornish. “There were times that we could make a run towards the front for a few laps after a restart, but over the long run our car was a bit too free into the corner then tight in the center and free off. We took some big swings at it during the pit-stops, but we just didn’t get it where we needed to be. It was a good run though and the guys did a good job in the pits. We were just a top-six car today. We will see what we can learn and look forward to Kentucky.”
Penske Racing teammate, Brad Keselowski finished fourth in the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge.
Hornish and the No. 12 Penske Dodge team will next race at Kentucky Speedway in the Kentucky 300 on Saturday, September 22. Coverage will air live beginning at 3:30 PM EST on ESPN. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90.