DOVER, Del. – Sam Hornish, Jr., driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished 18th in the OneMain Financial 200 on Saturday afternoon. The outcome was the result of a cut tire that occurred at lap 162 while Hornish was scored a solid second-place in the running order.
Hornish started the 200-lap event from the 14th position after he posted a lap of 23.530 seconds at 152.996 miles per hour, around the high-banked, one-mile oval. As the race started Hornish made a steady climb through the field – improving to the 10th position by lap 15 and then moving up to the seventh position by lap 45 when a NASCAR mandated competition caution was displayed.
When prompted by crew chief Chad Walter, Hornish informed the team that his Alliance Truck Parts machine started the run tight and then became increasingly tighter throughout the run. At lap 46 the 33 year-old driver brought his Dodge Challenger into the pits for its first service of the race. During this stop the Penske Racing crew changed four tires, with an air pressure adjustment and fueled the car – passing three competitors in the process.
At lap 50 the green flag was displayed with Hornish scored fourth in the running order. The Defiance, Ohio native would lose one spot on the restart and then slip one more spot to sixth-place at lap 76 as the one-lap scuffed tires and the air pressure adjustment resulted in the Alliance Truck Parts car being too loose.
The team was given the opportunity to service the Dodge Challenger again as the second caution flag of the day was displayed at lap 115. This time the crew gave their driver four fresh Goodyear tires with an air pressure adjustment, a full tank of Sunoco fuel and a chassis adjustment. The Penske Racing pit-crew demonstrated their prowess once more as they gained three positions on the strength of their speedy service in the pit-box.
The green flag restarted the action at lap 123 with Hornish scored third in the running order. Over the next 20 laps the top-three cars would open up a sizeable lead over the remainder of the field. At lap 145 Hornish took over the second spot while turning laps equal to or faster than the leader. At lap 164 the Alliance Truck Parts car suffered a cut right-rear tire which resulted in a green flag pit-stop to replace the right-side tires. When the Penske Dodge returned to the racing surface it was scored 18th one lap down to the leaders. Hornish and the team made a valiant effort to regain the lead lap but were not able to as the laps wound down and they would have to settle for an 18th– place finish.
“I’m just really proud of Chad and the guys on the Alliance Truck Parts team because they gave me a great car and great pit stops,” said Hornish. “We just had some bad racing luck. You can’t control getting a flat tire – those things happen. We ran over something and that caused a slow leak – nothing I could do but pit under green and lose all of our track position. It’s a shame. I’m not sure if we would have caught the 18 (Joey Logano) or not but we were closing in on him.”
Chad Walter (Crew Chief, No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger) – “I’m really proud of the effort by everyone on the team; we just had some bad racing luck today and that cost us a shot at a win. Sam drove a great race and our pit stops were ridiculously good today. A tough day for points, we’re not out of it yet, but this one stings a bit. We’ve had a couple good weekends and this result doesn’t reflect how fast our Alliance Truck Parts Dodge was today. To stay up with the Gibbs cars today was an indication of how fast we were. I’m so proud of everyone today. I wish we were racing Charlotte tomorrow because we’re running that well. Everything is clicking – driver, crew, engine shop, body shop. It’s just a shame we came home 18th today.”
Penske Racing teammate Ryan Blaney finished the event in the 13th position driving the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger.
Following Saturday’s result, Hornish and the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts team maintain the fourth position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings.
Hornish and the No. 12 Penske Dodge crew will next compete at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 12 in the Dollar General 300. The race will be covered live beginning at 7 PM on ESPN as well as on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90.