HORNISH SCORES A STRONG FOURTH-PLACE FINISH IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
LOUDON, N.H. - Sam Hornish, Jr., driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, finished fourth in Saturday afternoon’s F.W. Webb 200. The result matches his best finish of the season as it is his second fourth-place result.
Hornish qualified for the event in the sixth position after turning a lap of 29.267 seconds around the one mile speedway at an average speed of 130.140 miles per hour during Saturday morning qualifying. When the action began Hornish, in his trademark style, made up several positions advancing to the third position in the running order by the end of the second lap.
As the race settled in for the first long green-flag run of the day, the No. 12 Dodge held station in the top-five. At lap 37 the first yellow flag of the day was displayed with Hornish was running fifth. He radioed in that the car was little to free into the corner, tight in the center and a little loose on corner exit. At lap 38 Hornish brought the Alliance Truck Parts machine into the pits for the first service of the race. During the stop the Penske pit crew changed four tires and filled the car with fuel – making a small air pressure adjustment in order to address the vehicle’s handling.
When the action resumed at lap 42 the Defiance, Oh native was scored in the eighth position in the running order, having lost a few spots to teams that went with only two tires during the pit sequence. Once again Hornish went on the offensive by passing three cars on the restart. He stayed in the top-seven over the next 38 laps as he was still working with a car that too free into the corner and too tight through the center. He also reported that he was experiencing some brake chatter during this part of the race.
The yellow flag slowed the action again at lap 80. During this time Hornish and crew chief Chad Walter discussed the car’s handling and decided on a course of action. At lap 82 the Penske Dodge came to the pits for air pressure and chassis adjustments, four tires and fuel. The Penske pit crew made all these changes and picked up a position for their driver. When the race went green again at lap 88, Hornish was scored sixth. Over the next few laps Hornish drove towards the front – at lap 96 he was the fastest car on the track and was scored second at lap 100.
During the last half of the race Hornish would make his way to as high as the second position and as low as fourth. A caution flag at lap 120 brought the team another opportunity to fine tune the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge. At lap 122 Walter called Hornish to the pits and the crew changed the two right side tires and dispensed one can of fuel. This would prove to be the last pit stop of the day as the Penske Dodge now had enough fuel to go the distance. When the race went green again at lap 128 Hornish was running second.
At lap 130 he slipped to third as Kevin Harvick got by him. He and Austin Dillon would go on to battle for the third position for the latter part of the race. Hornish would fall to fourth at lap 195 and hold that position to the end of the race.
“We were really good on the short run, not as good on the long runs. So all day we were hoping for some more cautions I guess,” said Hornish. “At the end of the day, a top-five finish is good. The Alliance Truck Parts team only lost one point to one of the guys that we’re running against in the championship hunt. All in all, I’m pretty happy with how we ran. Just wish we would have had a little bit more for those guys at the end of the race. The guys did a great job in the pits. I had a real tough battle with the 3 car (Austin Dillon) for most of the second half of the race. Unfortunately, I lost that battle towards the end there but Austin drove a good race. He raced me clean, so I have nothing to complain about other than I tried to get back to the throttle a little bit too soon. I had just had one little slip up trying to get through some lapped traffic and it opened the door for him.”
With the result Hornish and the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge hold fast at fourth in the championship standings trailing first place by 32 points.
Penske Racing teammate, Brad Keselowski claimed a victory from the pole in the No. 22 Snap-on Dodge.
Hornish and the No. 12 Penske Dodge team will next race at Chicagoland Speedway in the STP 300 on Sunday, July 21. Coverage will air live beginning at 2 p.m. EST on ESPN. The race will also be broadcast on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90.