Sam Hornish Jr. Behind the Wheel of No. 22 Dodge at Brickyard
-Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Fill-In Driver Doing Double-Duty This Weekend At Indianapolis Motor Speedway-
July 25, 2012
Photo Courtesy of Autostock
INDIANAPOLIS (July 24, 2012) - Sam Hornish Jr., winner of the 2006 Indianapolis 500 for Penske Racing, returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to pull "double-duty" this weekend in NASCAR competition. Hornish, currently fourth in the Nationwide Series point standings, is entered in both the inaugural Indiana 250 NNS race and the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 Sprint Cup Series race. Hornish will be filling in for the "temporarily suspended" AJ Allmendinger in driving the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge in Sunday's race.
"I'm really looking forward to competing in both races this weekend at Indy," offered Hornish, who will be racing in his 52nd career NNS race on Saturday and his 113th career NSCS on Sunday at IMS this weekend. "It'll be neat to be part of racing history when the Nationwide Series teams race there for the first time on Saturday. I'm thrilled to be able to be back behind the wheel of the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge again for this weekend's Sprint Cup race."
"It's obviously a difficult situation with AJ and the No. 22 team," added Hornish, who will also race in the Cup Series event at Pocono next weekend in the No. 22 car following AJ Allmendinger's suspension. "I'm thankful for the opportunity to compete in the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge over these next two races and we'll see where things go from there. I want to do whatever I can to support Penske Racing and our partners and deliver a good result for the team."
Hornish competed in eight editions of the Indianapolis 500 from 2000 through 2007, with the final four as a driver for Penske Racing. In addition to winning from the pole in the 2006 race, Hornish came back to start fifth and finish fourth in his final open-wheel race there in 2007. He posted an 8.9 average start and 16.5 average finish in his Indy car career on the historical 2.5-mile rectangular-shaped track.
This weekend's NASCAR races won't be the first for Hornish at the Brickyard, however. After leaving the open-wheel ranks after the 2007 season, Hornish competed in three of the annual Sprint Cup races there from 2008-2010 for Penske Racing. In the 2008 Brickyard 400, he started 38th and finished 21st. Hornish started 15th and finished 37th there in 2009 and finished 30th after starting 25th in the 2010 event.
In his three Indianapolis Sprint Cup starts to date, Hornish has a 26.0 average start and a 29.3 average finish. He has completed 90.6 percent (435/480) of possible laps and is looking to lead his first lap in NASCAR competition there this weekend.
"It's a lot different driving a stock car at Indianapolis," Hornish said from his personal experience of competing there. "The line is basically the same - you want the car to hit the same points. In Indy cars, you trim the car until you are able to run flat out. In NASCAR, you know that every lap you are going to brake in Turns 1 and 3 as well going into Turns 2 and 4. You can easily upset a stock car by doing the wrong thing.
"I think I learned a lot from the three NASCAR races I ran before at Indy," offered Hornish, a three-time IndyCar Series champion. "You have to be sure to position yourself to get to the finish of the race. We had good cars there before and tried to get to the front too quickly. Patience will definitely be at the top of my mind there this weekend for sure.
"It's a lot about momentum, too, and judging things the right way," Hornish added. "The Indy cars were somewhat like that, as well. If you make an ill-timed attempt to pass, you are going to get passed by somebody. It's a place where you have to be sure you are going to get it done or you won't get back in line in time and loose spots.
"Of course our main focus is running the entire Nationwide schedule and going for the championship, but we plan on making the best out of the opportunity to be back in the Cup car again this weekend," said Hornish. "We were able to run both races at New Hampshire and look forward to having the chance to do it again this weekend at Indy. We'll be doing everything to the best of our abilities to be successful in both cars there on Saturday and Sunday."
Crew chief Todd Gordon thinks the fact that Hornish is competing in both NASCAR races at IMS is definitely a bonus.
"Just getting the additional track time there this weekend will offer tremendous benefits, I think," said Gordon, who will be making his first trip back to Indianapolis Motor Speedway since taking a tour of the facility as a seven-year-old fan visiting the track. "Sam certainly has turned a ton of laps during his career at Indy, but the big majority of his experience there has been in the open-wheel cars. The more laps he can get there this weekend, the better off we will be.
"The fact that he was able to drink the milk there is proof that Sam obviously knows his way around the place," Gordon added. "With both series utilizing the same Goodyear Tires, I am confident that we'll be able to be better prepared for Sunday's race.
"With all the success Penske Racing has had over on the open-wheel side at Indy, bringing home a win there on Sunday for Roger and the organization would be an incredible achievement," said Gordon. "When you look at the overall record, a Cup championship and NASCAR wins at Indy are the major things that are missing. It would be a dream come true to be able to be part of such an accomplishment."
Hornish and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing No. 22 Team will be racing their "PRS-829" Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is a new chassis in the "Double-Deuce" team's fleet of Dodge Chargers. The "PRS-819" chassis will serve as the backup Shell-Pennzoil Dodge for this weekend. This was the car that AJ Allmendinger drove to a second-place finish in the April Martinsville race.
This weekend's Sprint Cup action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway gets under way on Saturday with practice scheduled from 8:30 a.m. till 9:30 a.m. (live on ESPN2). The final practice on Saturday is set from 10:30 a.m. till 12:20 p.m. (live on ESPN2), prior to the single round of qualifying on Saturday beginning at 2:10 p.m. (live on ESPN2 and IMS Radio Network) that will establish Sunday's entire 43-car starting field. Sunday's Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 (400 miles, 160 laps around 2.5-mile IMS track) is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. EDT start, with ESPN and IMS Radio Network beginning their coverage of the event an hour earlier.
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