FORT WORTH, Texas (November 3, 2012) – Sam Hornish, Jr., driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished seventh in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday evening. The result marks Hornish’s 21st top-10 finish of the season.
Hornish began the 200-lap race from the 14th position, based on his lap of 30.252 seconds, or 178.501 miles per hour, around the 1.5-mile oval. The race began and Hornish went to work making his way up the scoring pylon as he improved four positions over the first four laps of the event. He made his way into the top-five by lap 40.
Over the opening stint of the race the Defiance, Ohio native reported that his Penske Dodge was free on corner entry, tight through the center and tight on corner exit. When the first caution of the race was displayed at lap 44, Hornish reported that he had picked up a vibration at the right-front of his Dodge Challenger. At lap 46, crew chief Chad Walter called his driver to the pits to service the Alliance Truck Parts machine, changing four tires, including an air pressure adjustment and topping off the fuel.
When the action resumed at lap 49 Hornish was shown seventh in the running order. He would run in the top-10 until the next pit stop which came during a caution period at lap 85. During this stop Hornish over-shot his pit stall and had to back up in order to get his No. 12 machine in front of his crew. This resulted in the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge losing several positions. When the green flag waved at lap 89 the No. 12 Dodge was scored 21st in the running order.
Hornish kept his head down and his foot on the gas making up numerous positions over the ensuing laps. By lap 100 he was 11thand at lap 127 he had once again broken into the top-five. Over the next 20 laps the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge was the fastest car on the track for several laps. At lap 143 the No. 12 Dodge made its first green-flag pit-stop of the night as Walter called for four tires, a track bar adjustment and fuel. As Hornish rejoined the action and got back up to speed, he reported having a vibration at the rear of his Dodge Challenger. A caution at lap 154 set up a lap 156 pit stop during which time the Penske crew gave their driver four new tires and topped off the fuel. As the green flag waved to restart the race Hornish was scored in the 13thposition.
Once again the 33-year-old driver displayed his prowess and the speed of the Alliance Truck Parts machine as he drove his way back into the top-five in just eight laps. By lap 169 Hornish was running a strong third-place which he held on to until lap 189 when he was passed by competitors that had taken on fresh rubber during a late race caution during which Hornish stayed out having used his fresh set on the earlier stop. Hornish drove smart and steady until the checkered flag as he finished the night in seventh-place.
Penske Racing teammate Ryan Blaney finished second Saturday evening in the No. 22 Dodge Challenger.
“We had a very eventful race tonight – our Alliance Truck Parts Dodge was really fast,” said Hornish, “but we didn’t execute in the pits and it hurt us. We had a strong car; one of the fastest cars I’ve had this year and when we have a car that has that kind of speed it’s a shame when we aren’t able to close the deal. We will put this one behind us and move on to Phoenix.”
Following Saturday afternoon’s result, Hornish and the No. 12 Penske Dodge team remain fourth in the NNS championship standings.
The No. 12 Penske Dodge team will next compete at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, November 10, in the Great Clips 200. Coverage will air live beginning at 3:30 PM ET on ESPN2. The race will also be broadcast on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90 at 3:45 PM ET.