Sam Hornish Jr. and the No. 9 Jacob Companies Ford team earned their second Top-10 finish of the season at Sonoma Raceway. The Jacob Companies team had a good start to the weekend, posting Top-10 times in both of Friday’s practice sessions. Despite qualifying outside of the Top-20, Hornish knew the No. 9 Ford would be good for the race. And, it was. Hornish was one of the fastest cars in the final 10 laps and passed 10 cars in the final six laps to finish 10th
Hornish started the 110-lap race from the 24th position and worked his way toward the Top-20 in the opening laps. He was running in the 21st position on Lap 13 when he reported that the front brakes didn’t feel comfortable enough for him to get into the turns like he needed to.
An accident in Turn 10 brought out the first caution of the race on Lap 23, giving the Jacob Companies team the opportunity to make adjustments. The crew made chassis, air pressure and front brake adjustments on the four-tire stop. With the lengthy stop for adjustments, Hornish restarted 31st on Lap 27. Just three laps later, the yellow flag waved again. This time, Manion called Hornish to pit road for fuel only. Hornish restarted 34th on Lap 34.
Hornish began to make his way through the field, breaking into the Top-25 by Lap 44 and the Top-20 by Lap 50. He gave up the 19th spot on Lap 66 to come to pit road for four tires and fuel.
After returning to the track one-lap down, Hornish raced his way back onto the lead lap just before an accident in Turn 10 brought out the caution on Lap 75. The No. 9 Jacob Companies Ford came to pit road for four tires and fuel.
The restart produced another caution, but this time, the No. 9 Ford stayed on the track. Hornish restarted 21st on Lap 85. Once again, the No. 9 Ford began to move through the field, running in the 17th position when debris brought out the caution on Lap 100. Manion made a strategy call to bring the Jacob Companies Ford to pit road for four tires, no fuel. Hornish restarted 20th with six laps to go.
He gained five spots on the restart and raced into the Top-15. In the closing laps, Hornish gained five more spots to cross the finish line in the 10th position.
It’s the team’s second Top-10 finish of the season. With the finish, Hornish gained one spot in the Championship Point Standings to 24th.
“All in all, I’m really happy with the effort everybody put forward on our Jacob Companies Ford Fusion,” said Hornish. “With how fast we were on Friday, I was pretty disappointed with how we qualified. I thought we could’ve been better for about half of the race today, but we hung in there and got a good finish. We tried to play as cleanly as we possibly could today, and I’m proud of the 10th-place finish that we got. I felt like at times we were a 25th-place car, so to be able to get that much more out of it is a good day. I appreciate all the guys’ hard work, and I’m looking forward to going to Watkins Glen next month. I’m a lot better there than I am here, so if we can get a Top-10 out of it here, hopefully, we can race for the win there.”