Hornish lands spot in top 35; McMurray, Blaney, Franchitti and Petty out

Updated: March 16, 2008, 11:48 PM ET

John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

Jamie McMurray, left, had an early spin and eventually finished last to fall out of the coveted top 35.

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- It wasn't nearly as thrilling as winning the Indianapolis 500, but Sunday's 29th-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway was a victory of sorts for Sam Hornish Jr.

The finish moved the 2006 Indy 500 winner up one position to 35th in points, guaranteeing he'll have a spot in the field when the Sprint Cup series resumes in two weeks at Martinsville, Va.

"We did pretty much what we came here to do, and that was stay out of trouble as much as you can here and finish," Hornish said.

Hornish made the first five races because he swapped owners' points with Penske Racing teammate Kurt Busch, who was assured a spot as a past champion (2004).

"I'm just really happy that we got out of here in the top 35 in points and we rebounded at the last two races just the way we needed," the Cup rookie said.

Others weren't so lucky. Jamie McMurray finished last to fall to 36th in points. Dave Blaney, Dario Franchitti and Kyle Petty were other notables who finished outside the top 35.

Petty Enterprises will decide in the next week whether to swap the owners' points between Bobby Labonte and Petty to assure Petty a spot at Martinsville.

Petty is 40th in points. Labonte, who would be guaranteed a spot as a past champion (2000), is 18th after finishing 38th on Sunday.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.


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Sticks And Stones?

Kevin Harvick


Tony Stewart obviously wasn't happy when Kevin Harvick wrecked him while trying to pass for second with two laps remaining. He screamed over his radio, "What the f--- did he do that for?"

His spotter replied, "F---ing jerk, that's why he did it."

"If his spotter wants to have a bad attitude about it, then we can all come down here and we'll handle it," said Harvick, who sent his spotter to apologize for the incident. "Nobody is going to have a good attitude about getting wrecked. I understand that from Tony's standpoint. But his spotter was out of line, and I didn't appreciate it."

Jarrett Honored

Dale Jarrett


Dale Jarrett received a standing ovation in the drivers' meeting in honor of his final points race. He then told the drivers to enjoy their careers "because we all have one time in this, and mine has been fantastic."

The 1999 Cup champion also was honored during prerace introductions, receiving a "Tennessee Volunteer" rifle similar to the ones used by settlers in this area during the Revolutionary War's Battle of Kings Mountain.

An avid golfer, he also received 668 Titleist Pro V1 golf balls to commemorate his career Cup starts.

Jarrett's father, Ned, waved the green flag to start the race.

The race was anti-climactic, though, as Jarrett finished 37th, 10 laps off the pace.

"Well, it wasn't the finish I would have liked," he said. "I'm able to go out with the best sponsor in the business in UPS and I would have liked to have had a better day for them, but I really can't be too upset when you take into consideration the kind of career I have been fortunate to have."