Richmond, VA (April 27, 2012) -Sam Hornish, Jr. driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Wurth Dodge Challenger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS), finished fifth inFriday evening’s Virginia 529 College 250 at Richmond International Raceway. This event marked the second consecutive appearance of the No. 12 Wurth Dodge Challenger of seven that are scheduled this season.
Hornish started the 250-lap event from the 12th position on the grid based on his time from Friday afternoon’s qualifying session when he lapped the .7-mile oval in 22.041 seconds at an average speed of 122.499 miles per hour.
The green flag waved to start the race and the Defiance, Ohio native immediately went to work, making up several positions in the opening laps. At lap 10 he had maneuvered his way up to eighth-place despite the fact that he was experiencing an unusual vibration in the cars’ braking system. By lap 30 he was scored in the sixth position on the track. At this point during the long green flag run Hornish reported that the Wurth Dodge was loose on corner entry, tight in the middle of the corner and loose on corner exit.
At lap 67 a caution flag brought the Penske Dodge crew their first opportunity of the night to work on the Dodge Challenger. When the pit lane was opened, crew chief Chad Walter called in his driver and the Penske crew gave their Dodge four fresh tires and a tank a fuel, making slight air pressure adjustments to the rear tires to address the vehicle’s handling issues. This stop proved to be the first of several outstanding efforts by the Penske crew as the No. 12 Wurth Dodge advanced four positions in the running order.
When the green flag waved on lap 75 the Wurth Dodge was shown in the fourth position on the scoring pylon. The Indianapolis 500-winning driver reported that the car’s brakes still had a vibration and he was still too loose on corner entry and exit, and tight in the center, but he was able to make it work. Hornish was able to maintain a consistent presence in the top-five for the duration of the next run. At lap 115 the yellow caution flag was displayed once again which brought another opportunity for the Penske crew to service the No. 12 Dodge. This time Walter called for tires, fuel; an air pressure and a wedge adjustment.
At lap 124, the green flag restarted the action with the Wurth Dodge scored in third position. Once again the Penske crew were able to gain track position with their superb work in the pit stall. Over the course of the next segment of the race Hornish kept his Dodge comfortably in the top-six, running as high as second-place.
The Penske crew gave the Wurth machine its last service of the night on lap 204, during green flag conditions. Once again the crew did an outstanding job of servicing the car and Hornish rejoined the fray running in the top-six.
As the laps wound down, Hornish radioed in that the car’s handling was still less than optimal, yet he was able to run lap times that were close to those of the leaders. When the checkered flag ended the race on lap 250 Hornish was scored in the fifth position.
“It was a really good night for the Wurth Dodge; our pit crew was awesome tonight. We had a good car, but I just couldn’t quite keep up with the leaders,” said Hornish. “I would rather the pit crew have a great race and have a decent car than have a bad race for the pit crew and a great car. We just need a little bit more out of our Penske Dodge to win races, but we are closing in on it and as long as we continue to progress the way we have, it is just a matter of time before we get our Wurth Dodge into the victory circle. All in all it was a great night and I am so proud of this No. 12 Wurth Dodge team.”
With today’s result Sam Hornish, Jr. and the No. 12 Wurth Dodge Challenger remain fourth in the NASCAR Nationwide point standings.
Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski finished 16th in the No. 22 SKF Dodge