Just a lap short of halfway, contact with another car sent Sam Hornish Jr and his No. 9 Medallion Bank Ford team into the outside wall during Sunday’s race at the Auto Club Speedway. With extensive damage, the team was forced to bring the Medallion Bank Ford to the garage for repairs. The No. 9 crew was able to get Hornish back on the track for the final 59 laps and finish in the 43rd-position.
The No. 9 Medallion Bank team earned a 16th-place starting spot for Sunday’s race. From the start of the 200-lap race, Hornish battled the handling of the No. 9 Ford Fusion, reporting the car was free on off the corner and needed to turn better through the middle of the corner. Hornish was running in the 24th position when a spin in Turn Four brought out the first caution. After receiving feedback from Hornish, Crew Chief Drew Blickensderfer called the No. 9 Ford to pit road for four tires, a wedge adjustment and fuel. He restarted in the 25th position on Lap 28.
The two-mile track created hard racing on multiple grooves, and it didn’t take long for Hornish to hear “three-wide” in his radio. As he raced among traffic, he reported that the Medallion Bank Ford was really pushing on the exit of the turn, making it hard for him to get the car to stay where he needed it to. Blickensderfer and the Medallion Bank team talked through options for the upcoming pit stop and called Hornish to pit road for a green-flag pit stop on Lap 57 for four tires, a wedge adjustment and fuel.
Running just inside the Top-30 after his green-flag stop, Hornish reported the handling of the No. 9 Ford wasn’t consistent through the corners with each lap. He provided Blickensderfer with as much feedback as possible on how the car was handling at certain points on the track. The Medallion Bank crew received another opportunity to work on the car on Lap 88 when NASCAR Officials brought out the caution for debris. This time, it was a four-tire stop as well as an air pressure adjustment and fuel for the No. 9 Ford. Hornish restarted in the 32nd position on Lap 93.
Just six laps later, contact between Hornish and another car sent him into the outside wall causing extensive damage to the right side of the car and sending the No. 9 Ford to the garage for repairs. It was all hands on deck for the No. 9 Medallion Bank crew, and they were able to get Hornish back on track on Lap 148.
With no positions to be gained, Hornish and the No. 9 crew used the final 59 laps to gain information for their intermediate track program. He finished the race in the 43rd position, 54 laps down.