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Sam Hornish, Jr.

Samuel Jon Hornish, Jr. (born July 2, 1979 in Bryan, Ohio) is an American race car driver. He is best known for his open wheel accomplishments, which include an Indianapolis 500 victory and three Indy Racing League championships. He currently drives the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge for Penske Racing in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series.

Early career

Hornish began racing at the age of 11 in go-karts. After competing in junior leagues for various seasons, he joined the World Karting Association in 1993, winning seven races and posting twenty-nine top-five finishes. The following season, he won several championships in WKA, including the U.S. and Canadian Grand Championships, as well as the U.S. Junior Class Grand Championship. In 1995, he repeated his U.S. Grand National title and won nine races. He would move up to the United States F2000 Series, driving six races for his family-owned team, and had one top-ten finish at Watkins Glen International. He joined Bordin Racing in 1997 and had two eleventh-place finishes, before signing with Primus Racing. He had a second-place run at Pikes Peak International Raceway and finished seventh in points.

In 1999, Hornish moved to the Toyota Atlantic Series to drive for Shank Racing. He won Rookie of the Year after getting his victory at Chicago Motor Speedway. He also drove the 24 Hours of Daytona for Intersport Racing.

IRL career

He first raced in the IRL in 2000 with the PDM Racing team, with a best finish of third. However, he switched to Panther Racing for the next season and improved enough to take the title from reigning champion Buddy Lazier. In 2002 the Penske team switched from Champ Car, and Sam was able to beat their top driver Hélio Castroneves to his second title. Along the way, Hornish beat Al Unser, Jr. by .0024 of a second in the Delphi Indy 300 in Chicago, possibly the closest race in auto history until the 2007 Indy Pro Season when Logan Gomez beat teammate and champion Alex Lloyd at the same racetrack by only 0.0005 sec, or 1.65 inches.

In 2003, most of the established top US open-wheel teams were now racing in the series, with Honda and Toyota providing engines superior to the established Chevrolet unit Panther used. As a result, Cosworth was called in to supply a replacement engine informally dubbed the "Chevworth", with which Sam was a winner again, finishing 5th in the 2003 standings. For 2004 he moved to Penske, winning the season-opener but finding that Honda engines, and not Penske's Toyotas, were now the engine of choice. 2005 was an improvement, as he finished third to Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan in the standings and the top placement of any driver not driving for Andretti Green Racing.

On May 28, 2006, after starting on the pole for the 2006 Indianapolis 500, Hornish became the first driver to ever overtake for the lead on the race's final lap, ultimately winning the race in the last 450 feet by a 0.0635-second margin over rookie Marco Andretti. Also in that year, he won the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Scott Brayton Award, awarded annually to the driver best exemplifying a spirit of tenacity as well as friendliness amongst the race's participants. Hornish went on to win the 2006 IRL championship in the final race of the season by a tiebreaker over defending champ Dan Wheldon. He became the first 3-time champion in IRL history. In 2007, he only won one race at Texas, and finished fifth in points.

NASCAR

On October 28, 2006, Hornish announced that he would attempt to run the final two 2006 NASCAR Busch Series races for Penske Racing, as well as select events in 2007. In his first two Busch starts, Hornish wrecked his #39 Mobil 1 Dodge both times, and did not finish better than 36th. In 2007, his car was switched to the #12, and he competed in seven Busch races, his best finish being a 15th at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Beginning in fall 2007, he started attempting Nextel Cup races in the #06 for Penske, and made only two races (at Phoneix International Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway).

He will drive the #77 full-time for Penske in Sprint Cup in 2008 with Mobil 1 sponsorship. In his first Daytona 500 he had a great race, finishing 15th. Teammates Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch finished first and second; to giving Roger Penske his first 1,2 finish in NASCAR. After the race Roger Penske said, "It is nice to see Sam display some of his racing talent in the biggest race in NASCAR." After struggling to make his first NASCAR Cup Series events; Phoenix where he finished 30th and Homestead where he finished 37th, after the 2008 Daytona 500 he admitted that even he was surprised to see himself running in the top-10 most of the day. He also said, "I wish they would have started the race about two hours sooner, so it still could have been sunny out. If the sun had never gone down, we would have had a better chance. Once the sun goes down, everybody starts getting more and more evenly matched up, because there's not all that worry about the tires sliding around so much because of the heat."

At the May All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway Hornish finished second in the Sprint Showdown to earn a start in the All-Star race. Hornish finished 7th.

NASCAR Sprint Cup results

(NASCAR driver results legend) (Races in bold indicate pole position)
Year Team No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 NSC Points
2008 Penske Racing 77 Dodge DAY
15
CAL
43
LSV
41
ATL
25
BRI
29
MAR
28
TEX
32
PHO
20
TAL
35
RIC
23
DAR
38
LOW
13
DOV
18
POC
42
MIC
22
INF
31
DY2
29
CHI
37
NHA
39
PO2
26
IND
21
GLN MI2 BR2 CA2 RI2 NH2 DV2 KAN TL2 LW2 MR2 AT2 TX2 PH2 HOM 33rd 1607*
*Season in progress.
Year Starts* Wins Top Fives Top Tens Poles DNF Finish Start Winnings Rank Team(s)
2008 21 0 0 0 0 2 29.3 26.0 $2,968,510 33 Penske Racing
Totals 21 0 0 0 0 2 29.3 26.0 $2,968,510

* - 21 of 36 races (Data as of August 5, 2008)

Education/Family

Hornish is a 1998 graduate of Archbold High School in Archbold, Ohio, and now resides in Napoleon.

On February 4, 2008 Sam and his wife Crystal welcomed their first child, Addison Faith Hornish, into the world. Baby Addison weighed 7lbs. 2oz. and measured 18 inches. Hornish finished 15th in his first Daytona 500.

Motorsport Career Results

American Open Wheel

(American Open Wheel driver results legend) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

IndyCar

Year Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Rank Points
2000 PDM WDW
20
PHX
Ret
LSV
3
IND
Ret
TXS
Ret
PPIR
Ret
ATL
DNS
KTY
9
TX2
Ret
21st 110
2001 Panther PHX
1
HMS
1
ATL
4
IND
14
TXS
3
PPIR
2
RIR
2
KAN
2
NSH
6
KTY
3
STL
3
CHI
2
TX2
1
1st 503
2002 Panther HMS
1
PHX
3
CAL
1
NZR
17
IND
25
TXS
Ret
PPIR
3
RIR
1
KAN
2
NSH
3
MIS
7
KTY
2
STL
5
CHI
1
TX2
1
1st 531
2003 Panther HMS
10
PHX
Ret
JPN
6
IND
Ret
TXS
10
PPIR
5
RIR
4
KAN
Ret
NSH
11
MIS
2
STL
6
KTY
1
NZR
2
CHI
1
CAL
1
TX2
Ret
5th 461
2004 Penske HMS
1
PHX
15
JPN
Ret
IND
Ret
TXS
4
RIR
11
KAN
8
NSH
2
MIL
3
MIS
4
KTY
14
PPIR
Ret
NZR
11
CHI
6
CAL
4
TX2
Ret
7th 387
2005 Penske HMS
2
PHX
1
STP
Ret
JPN
7
IND
Ret
TXS
2
RIR
Ret
KAN
12
NSH
2
MIL
1
MIS
5
KTY
7
PPIR
2
SNM
17
CHI
3
WGL
7
CAL
5
3rd 512
2006 Penske HMS
3
STP
8
JPN
4
IND
1
WGL
12
TXS
4
RIR
1
KAN
1
NSH
Ret
MIL
2
MIS
Ret
KTY
1
SNM
9
CHI
3
1st-TB 475
2007 Penske HMS
3
STP
7
JPN
5
KAN
6
IND
4
MIL
9
TXS
1
IOW
Ret
RIR
15
WGL
2
NSH
4
MDO
14
MIS
Ret
KTY
Ret
SNM
5
DET
12
CHI
3
5th 465
Years Teams Races Poles Wins Podiums
(Non-win)
Top 10s
(Non-podium)
Indianapolis 500
Wins
Championships
8 3 116 12 19 27 32 1 (2006) 3 (2001, 2002, 2006)

References

External links

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