It was a long day for Sam Hornish Jr. and the No. 9 Medallion Bank/Camping World team as they battled several obstacles throughout the 312-lap race. The first incident occurred on Lap 118 when the bead on the right-rear tired melted, sending Hornish spinning on the backstretch. The bad luck continued for Hornish as the temperature in the cockpit of the No. 9 Ford elevated significantly, forcing him to come to pit road for multiple stops to fix the issue. To add insult to injury, the No. 9 Ford received right-front damage after contact with the No. 14 with just 22 laps to go in the race, forcing Hornish to the garage for repairs. After returning to the track with six laps to go, the No. 9 Medallion Bank/Camping World Ford finished 40th.
Hornish started the race from the 27th position. After reporting the No. 9 Ford was loose on the brakes, Hornish made a trackbar adjustment from the cockpit of the car just before the yellow flag waved on Lap 16. He brought the No. 9 Ford to pit road under caution for four tires and fuel. With some of the field electing not to pit, Hornish restarted 35th on Lap 20.
The fresh tires helped the No. 9 Ford, and Hornish began making his way through the field. Halfway through the run, the lap times on the No. 9 Ford were comparable to the cars running in the Top-10. He was running in the 28th position when debris in Turn One brought out the caution on Lap 68. The No. 9 Ford had gotten free on entry and tight back to the gas. Prior to the caution, Hornish had reversed his original trackbar adjustment to help with exit, so the crew performed a four-tire stop with a spring adjustment. Hornish restarted in the 27th position on Lap 72.
During the long, green-flag run, Hornish settled into the 28th position. He still needed the No. 9 Ford to turn better, but before crew got a chance to make adjustments, Hornish spun on the backstretch when the right-rear tire on the car blew due to a melted bead. He brought the No. 9 to pit road to get four fresh tires and allow the No. 9 team to assess the damage. He returned to the track for the restart on Lap 126 in the 40th position, four laps down.
Unfortunately, the issues for Hornish continued as the temperature inside the No. 9 Ford elevated, especially around the floorboards. He brought the No. 9 Ford to pit road three times in the next 75 laps for the crew to make adjustments and provide some relief. On the final stop, he returned to the track in the 40th position, 15 laps down.
Unable to gain position on the track, the No. 9 team began to look for information that could help them in future races at the one-mile track. However, the No. 9 Ford received right-front damage as the No. 14 car made contact with Hornish after hitting the wall. The damage forced Hornish to the garage where the No. 9 crew fixed the damage and got Hornish back on the track for the final six laps of the race. The No. 9 Medallion Bank/Camping World Ford took the checkered flag in the 40th-position, 35 laps down. Hornish is now 24th in the Championship Point Standings.
“I’m not going to lie that was a tough race,” said Hornish. “It seems like these last few weeks we just can’t catch a break. One thing I can say about this team is that they never give up. We had a lot of things thrown at us today, and Drew (Blickensderfer) and the team did what they could to make the most out of the situation. We may not have been on the lead lap, but we crossed the finish line at the end of the race. Our organization seems to have a good grasp on what we need for the intermediate tracks, so I’m looking forward to going to Fontana and getting rid of this black cloud that has been following us.”