TALLADEGA, Ala. (April 17, 2010) – Sam Hornish Jr, driver of the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger, finished 13th Saturday in the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Talladega Superspeedway. The event marked the third NNS race of the 2011 season for Hornish and his second consecutive start driving the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge.
Hornish started the race in the 12th position after posting a qualifying time of 53.792, with a speed of 178.019, during Friday’s qualifying session. Once the green flag flew to begin the race, Hornish found a drafting partner in the No. 6 car driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The two quickly began to work their way toward the front of the field.
After the first caution flag of the race fell on lap 23, crew chief Chad Walter called Hornish down pit lane for two new right side tires and two cans of fuel. The No. 12 crew also cleaned the front grill of the Alliance Truck Parts car. Hornish emerged from the pits in the fifth position and quickly found Stenhouse again as his drafting partner. The two continued to work their way to the front and by lap 28, Hornish was battling Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the lead. After a spin on course on lap 44, Hornish once again brought the Alliance Truck Parts car down pit road for four new tires and fuel before he restarted the race at the tail end of the field. Another caution flag flew on lap 55, which brought the cars down pit road once again. Hornish found himself exiting pit road behind Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski. The duo worked together to make their way back to the front of the field by lap 75, as Hornish pushed Keselowski to the race lead.
Over the course of a physical afternoon of racing in the two-car draft, the No. 12 car’s rear bumper had taken a considerable beating and needed some repair. During a caution period that occurred on lap 82, Walter called for a fuel-only pit stop and repairs were made to the car’s rear bumper. With 24 laps remaining in the race, Hornish again found himself teamed with Keselowski as they ran at the front of the field, looking for a 1-2 finish for Penske Racing. But as Hornish was being pushed from behind by Keselowski into the lead, the rear bumper of the car finally gave way which caused Hornish to go spinning onto the apron along the front stretch. Walter called the black and yellow Dodge Challenger down pit lane twice to fix the damage and Hornish rejoined the race.
After a two attempts at a green-white-checkered flag finish, Hornish fought his way back to a 13th-place result.
“It was a strong day for the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger,” said Hornish. “I can’t thank Chad (Walter) enough for the super, super fast car that he gave me this weekend. It is shame we didn’t get the finish that we deserved. The No. 12 crew really did a great job all day during pit stops and really stepped up when it came to the last few stops and fixing the rear bumper. It was great to work with Brad (Keselowski) and I wish I would have had the chance to get back up to the front. Overall, it was a good day for the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge.”
“It was a really encouraging weekend from the start for the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger,” said Walter. “We had a great car and there were a lot of people who were willing to work with us when it came down to the draft. It was nice to see Brad (Keselowski) and Sam work together and lead a few laps. I can’t say enough about the No. 12 crew as well. To come back from the last spin and put ourselves back in position is fantastic. For a team that isn’t running full time this season, we all gel well and the communication between us is good. Sam did a spectacular job this weekend as well, from practice to qualifying to the race –he gave it everything he had. “
Hornish will next compete in the No. 12 Olympic Paints Dodge at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, April 29 in the Bubba Burger 250. Coverage will begin at 7:30 pm EST on SPEED. The race will also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio Channel 128.