Captain's Corner: Hornish "can't wait" for his NASCAR return
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Sam Hornish Jr. ready to relive Iowa success again with Team Penske.
One year after scoring a win in his return to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Hornish hopes to make a repeat appearance in Victory Lane.
Most drivers who are out of the car for nine months are likely just hoping to get comfortable in the seat again, but then most aren’t Hornish or driving for Team Penske.
Hornish will climb back into the seat of a Team Penske Xfinity car this Saturday for the American Ethanol E15 250 at Iowa Speedway, one of at least three races he will run for the team this season.
“I’m really excited about getting back in the race car this weekend at Iowa,” said Hornish. “I love short tracks and rough tracks and Iowa is both of those. I obviously had some good runs there last year, and I’m looking forward to getting back in a Team Penske Mustang.”
The Defiance, Ohio, native was making reference to scoring his fourth career series win in this event last year.
“Worn-out asphalt on tracks suits my driving style and that is one reason why I love racing at Iowa Speedway,” he said. “You have to have patience and take care of your equipment.”
Hornish, the 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion, races part-time now for Team Penske after driving for the organization for over a decade in both IndyCar and NASCAR competition. He said he’s appreciative of the opportunity given to him again this year.
I’ve been blessed. God has given me patience to wait on situations like this and I look forward every time I get a chance to race again with Team Penske.
Sam Hornish Jr.
“I look forward to trying to score another win this Saturday and I’m also excited I get to race in my home state again at Mid-Ohio. I’ve worked hard to stay in shape to be ready to go.”
Despite having some new faces on the crew, Hornish has been in contact with crew chief Greg Erwin and engine tuner Tommy Chandler and feels comfortable entering the weekend.
“I know there will be some new crew members because one of the things about the Xfinity Series is it gives drivers and crew members a chance to learn and move on to the next level, but I’ve worked with Greg before and know they’ll give me a great car to drive,” said Hornish.
Hornish will once again bring his wife and daughters with him on the road - a tradition of late.
“We’re going to load up and drive to the track as a family and have some fun together,” he said. “I don’t know how you can top winning last year on Father’s Day but we’re going to do our best to get another win for the team and their partners like Discount Tire who’ve supported the team for a long time.
“Roger (Penske) takes racing in the Xfinity Series as seriously as he does any other division and we’re going there to try and win again at Iowa Speedway.”
While racing on familiar tracks, Hornish will have some to adjust to some changes.
“I’ve never raced in an event that has stages like they have now in NASCAR and they’ve also made changes to the amount of downforce the Xfinity cars have now,” he said. “I’ll be ready to go with Greg and the support of everyone at Team Penske and I can’t wait for this weekend.”
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