Sam Hornish Jr. and the No. 9 Twisted Tea Ford team were relegated to a 30th-place finish after contact with another car sent Hornish spinning into the grass with four laps to go. For the majority of the night, Hornish’s patience prevailed as he avoided major damage to the No. 9 Ford and put himself in a position to race within the Top-10 at the end of the race.
Hornish started Sunday’s race from the 11th position, but it didn’t take long before an accident on the frontstretch brought out the caution on Lap Four. Hornish received minor damage to the left-front fender and the rear of the No. 9 Ford. He brought the Twisted Tea Ford to pit road to fix the damage, as well as four fresh tires. Hornish restarted 37th on Lap 9.
For the next 18 laps, Hornish raced towards the back of the lead pack, hoping to avoid “The Big One”. When NASCAR Officials called for a Competition Caution on Lap 27, Hornish brought the No. 9 Ford to pit road for fuel and a chassis adjustment. Hornish restarted 12th on Lap 31.
Hornish raced within the Top-15 before being shuffled outside of the Top-20. He was in the 24th spot when an accident in Turn Four brought out the caution on Lap 54. Crew Chief Kevin Manion called for two right-side tires and fuel. Hornish restarted 17th on Lap 57.
After another quick caution, Hornish once again positioned the No. 9 Ford at the back of the lead back. He was in the 26th spot when the yellow flag waved on Lap 87 for a multi-car accident in Turn Two. Hornish avoided the accident by going on the apron of the track, so Manion called him to pit road for four new tires and fuel. The Twisted Tea Ford restarted 26th on Lap 93.
Hornish raced around the Top-20 for the next 13 laps before another multi-car accident brought out the caution on Lap 106. This time Hornish spun while trying to avoid the wreck, but luckily avoided any contact. He brought the Twisted Tea Ford to pit road for four tires and topped it off with fuel. The No. 9 Ford restarted 17th on Lap 115.
Hornish began to make his move to the front of the field and was in ninth-place when the yellow flag was displayed for an accident in Turn Two on Lap 129. Hornish stayed out and restarted eighth on Lap 133. During the next run, the Twisted Tea Ford raced within the Top-Five. Things began to pick up in the front of the field, causing Hornish to get shuffled back to just inside the Top-12.
Not willing to lose track position, Hornish stayed out during a caution on Lap 149. He restarted 11th with nine laps to go. After the restart, Hornish made his way back to the front. He was breaking into the Top-10 when the car behind him made contact with the Twisted Tea Ford, sending Hornish spinning through the grass with four laps to go The No. 9 Ford received significant damage and was unable to continue. In the end, the Twisted Tea Ford was credited with a 30th-place finish. Hornish lost two spots in the Championship Series point standings to 26th.
“Today was a heartbreaker. This Twisted Tea team has really worked hard this weekend. We had to go to a backup car on Friday and everyone did a good job to get this car race ready. There are a lot of things that can happen on Superspeedway tracks that you don’t really have control of, and unfortunately this is one of those cases. We were able to get into a really good position at the end of the race and I think we could’ve gotten a good finish out of it.”