Defining what their season has been all about, Sam Hornish and the No. 9 Cheney Brothers Ford team overcame adversity and improved their performance during Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at the Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway- NASCAR’s final race of the 2015 season.. The team finished 25th.
Hornish and the No. 9 team finished the season with three Top-10 finishes and 26th in the championship run.
After starting the race in the 28th position, Hornish and the No. 9 Cheney Brothers Ford team faced adversity early. Within the first 20 laps, oil was laid down and Hornish scraped the wall bringing out the first caution of the race. Hornish was forced down pit road with right-side damage to the car. The crew quickly changed tires and began repairs to the body of the car. The team lost one lap in the accident, but a Competition Caution on Lap 30 put the Cheney Brothers Ford back on the Lead Lap. It also allowed the team to continue to work on the car.
Hornish was quickly able to use the next caution to not pit and leap frog to the 22nd position. But, shortly after, on a Lap 44 restart, a car turned sideways in front of the field. Not only was Almirola caught in the accident, but Hornish was as well. The car only suffered slight contact and the team went back to work on pit road to work on the body.
Not losing a lap, Hornish restarted 37th and started to move forward again. On Lap 85 he was racing in the 31st position and came to pit road on Lap 96 for fuel, tires and chassis adjustments. Hornish had just previously fallen one lap down.
The damage to the car had lifted the splitter and made the handling difficult for Hornish. However, Hornish was still posting good lap times with the repaired car. On Lap 125 he was running 30th.
A Lap 149 caution allowed the team to stay only one lap down and improve their position. The team made chassis adjustments to the car and it was getting better as the sun set. Hornish restarted 26th and on Lap 200 was up to 24th. The team had made tremendous progress.
The remaining of the race, Hornish held onto the 25th position where he finished.
“I just have to thank everyone for all their support and hard work this year,” said Hornish. “This team is a great crew and they have a lot of passion to do well. We didn’t get all the results we hoped for this season, but nobody ever quit or gave up. We all kept fighting and tonight was no different. Everyone should be proud of the effort all year.”