NNS: Sam Hornish Jr. Claims First NASCAR Victory in PhoenixNovember 12, 2011 No Comments
After winning just about everything there is to win in the world of Indy Car, Sam Hornish Jr. made the venture to the world of NASCAR to try his hands on stock car racing. With limited success in the Sprint Cup Series, Hornish found himself racing a part-time schedule for Roger Penske in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Saturday the fruits of his labor paid off as he claimed victory at Phoenix International Raceway.
It was the thirty-second career start for Hornish in Nationwide competition, and his first points paying trip to NASCAR victory lane in any of the national touring series.
“We had a good car all day,” Hornish said in victory lane. “We were trying to take our time all day and Chad Walter(crew chief) made a good call there towards the end.”
“Feels great to race Brad(Keselowski) and Carl(Edwards) out there towards the end,” Hornish continued. “We’ve all worked so hard, it’s been a rough year for us.”
Hornish, who has run a limited schedule on the Nationwide side this season has hopes of running in the series full-time in 2012.
“I sure hope this doesn’t hurt us at all,” Hornish jokingly said when asked about running the series next season as his team is still seeking sponsorship. “Everybody at Penske continues to work hard.”
Visiting victory lane two times in an Indy Car at Phoenix, Hornish is no stranger to victory lane celebrations at PIR.
“Every ten years I guess I get to come to victory lane here,” a choked up Hornish said. “”Brings back a lot of memories to the Pennzoil car. Its been a rough couple years. Its been a long time since I’ve got to carry the checkered flag around.”
Teammate Brad Keselowski was hunting down his Penske Racing teammate, but to no avail as he finished in the second position on the day.
“Its great to see him(Hornish Jr.) get some success out of it,” Keselowski said.”They’re going to be tough to beat all year if they can run for the championship. I hope RP(Roger Penske) can put that together cause he’d be the favorite if he runs like he did today.”
The reconfigured dog-leg on the back stretch had its share of ‘questionable’ moments throughout the course of the race today. Seeing drivers dive way below the yellow line, using it as a way to help pass their competitors. While the move was proved to be successful, it also wrecked the day for championship contender, Elliot Sadler.
Racing hard with Jason Leffler and Aric Almirola, Sadler darted below the yellow line through the dog-leg, clearing the two heading into turn three. Leffler then touched the rear bumper of Sadler’s Chevrolet, sending Sadler, Almirola as well as himself into the outside retaining wall.
“The 38 just ran in the back of us,” a frustrated Sadler said after the wreck.”Not much respect for him.”
“I don’t understand, he’s not running for anything,” he continued. “Its just very frustrating. My guys have put us in good position to run for the championship this year.”
When asked about diving below the yellow line through the dog-leg Salder offered this thought.
“Everybody’s doing it. It actually gives the other guys more room so you’re not crowding them.”
“It’s my responsibility,” said Leffler. “He stopped sooner than expected, I think he slid in there trying not to overshoot the corner.”
“I feel bad for him and his guys,” he continued. ‘Just a mistake on my part.”
With the wreck, Salder’s championship hopes all but go down the drain as he now trails Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by 41 points heading into the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“I feel good,” Stenhouse Jr. said as he now looks to claim the series championship next weekend after his fifth place finish after leading the most laps on the day. “It’s going to be a relief off the shoulders this week. Just disappointing we didn’t capitalize on a great race car.”
With next weeekends race at Homestead, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will just have to finish the race in order to bring home the first Nationwide championship for Jack Roush since Carl Edwards in 2007.
Results of the WYPALL Wipers 200 at Phoenix International Raceway
- Sam Hornish Jr.
- Brad Keselowski
- Carl Edwards
- Joey Logano
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Trevor Bayne
- Clint Bowyer
- Ryan Truex
- Justin Allgaier
- Michael Annett
- David Stremme
- Joe Nemecheck
- Ron Hornaday Jr.
- Blake Koch
- Ricky Carmichael
- Mike Wallace
- Kenny Wallace
- Timmy Hill
- Eric McClure
- Kevin Lepage
- Danica Patrick
- Robert Richardson Jr.
- TJ Duke
- Jeremy Clements
- Aric Almirola
- Jason Leffler
- Elliot Sadler
- Morgan Shepard
- Steve Wallace
- James Buescher
- Mike Bliss
- Derrike Cope
- DJ Kennington
- Jeff Green
- Reed Sorenson
- Mark Green
- Scott Speed
- Chase Miller
- Matthew Carter
- Johnny Chapman
- Brian Scott
- Matt Frahm
- Tim Andrews
Tags: Championship, Elliot Sadler, First Time Winner, NNS, Phoenix International Raceway, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Roger Penske, Sam Hornish JrCoverage