Sam Hornish, Jr.

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Sam Hornish, Jr.
TSM350 - 2015 - Sam Hornish Jr - Stierch.jpg
Hornish in 2015
Born (1979-07-02) July 2, 1979 (age 36)
Defiance, Ohio, United States
Achievements 2001, 2002, 2006 IndyCar Series champion
2006 Indianapolis 500 winner
Awards 1999 Atlantic Championship Rookie of the Year
2004 IndyCar Series Most Popular Driver
2006 Scott Brayton Award
U.S. F2000 National Championship Hall of Fame Inductee (2012)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
155 races run over 9 years
Car no., team No. 9 (Richard Petty Motorsports)
2014 position 57th
Best finish 28th (2009)
First race 2007 Checker Auto Parts 500 Presented by Pennzoil (Phoenix)
Last race 2015 Irwin Tools Night Race (Bristol)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 12 0
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
110 races run over 9 years
Car no., team No. 98 (Biagi-DenBeste Racing)
2014 position 27th
Best finish 2nd (2013)
First race 2006 Arizona Travel 200 (Phoenix)
Last race 2015 O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 (Texas)
First win 2011 WYPALL* 200 Powered by Kimberly-Clark Professional (Phoenix)
Last win 2014 Get To Know Newton 250 (Iowa)
Wins Top tens Poles
3 57 7
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career
1 race run over 1 year
Best finish 74th (2008)
First race 2008 Kroger 200 (Martinsville)
Last race 2008 Kroger 200 (Martinsville)
Wins Top tens Poles
0 1 0
IndyCar Series
Years active 20002007
Teams PDM Racing (2000)
Panther Racing (2001–2003)
Marlboro Team Penske (2004–2006)
Team Penske (2007)
Starts 116
Wins 19
Poles 10
Fastest laps 10
Best finish 1st in 2001, 2002 and 2006
Last updated on: August 22, 2015.

Samuel Jon "Sam" Hornish, Jr. (born July 2, 1979, in Defiance, Ohio[1]) is an American professional stock car racing driver. He currently competes full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, driving the No. 9 Ford Fusion for Richard Petty Motorsports. He also competes part-time in the Xfinity Series, driving the No. 98 Ford Mustang for Biagi-DenBeste Racing.

Hornish began his top-tier racing career in the IndyCar Series, making his debut during the 2000 season driving for PDM Racing. Hornish started competing for Panther Racing the following season, winning eleven races during the next three seasons with Panther and the 2001 and 2002 series championships. In the 2004 season, Hornish began to drive for Team Penske and would win eight more races during his tenure with the team, including the 2006 Indianapolis 500; he would also earn the 2006 series championship. At the time of his departure from the series after the 2007 season, Hornish had the record for the most career wins in the series with 19 (Scott Dixon broke the record in the 2009 season).

Hornish moved to Penske's NASCAR program part-time in the Xfinity Series (then known as the Busch Series) during the 2006 season, and he began to compete in the Sprint Cup Series (then known as the Nextel Cup Series) part-time in that series' 2007 season. Hornish raced in the Sprint Cup Series full-time in 2008, initially struggling in the series, earning eight top-tens over his first three seasons, while performing no better than his 28th-place finish in points during the 2009 season. Hornish returned to the Xfinity Series (then known as the Nationwide Series) in 2011 for a part-time season and earned a win. Hornish competed in the series full-time in 2012 and finished fourth in points. During the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season, Hornish replaced A. J. Allmendinger, who had been suspended by NASCAR for failing a random drug test, in Penske's No. 22 car mid-way through the season and would earn one top-five finish. In 2013, Hornish returned to the Nationwide Series, winning one race and earning 16 top-five finishes and 24 top-ten finishes to finish second in points, three points behind champion Austin Dillon. Hornish would only compete in a part-time season for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2014 that would consist of eight races. Hornish won one race and had four top-five finishes.

Early career[edit]

Hornish began racing at the age of 11 years in go-karts.[1] Within four years, he won the U.S. Grand National championship in the World Karting Association.[1] From 1996−98, Hornish made 32 starts in the U.S. F2000 National Championship.[2] In his final season in the series, he would earn a career-best finish of 2nd place at Pikes Peak International Raceway.[2] Hornish would finish in 7th place in points in 1998,[2] and would be inducted into the series' Hall of Fame in 2012 as a 1998 graduate.[3]

In the 1999 Atlantic Championship season, Hornish drove for Mike Shank,[4] scoring a win at Chicago Motor Speedway.[5] Hornish would finish 7th in the championship standings with 67 points.[6]

Sports car racing[edit]

In the 1999 United States Road Racing Championship season, Hornish drove in the United States Road Racing Championship at the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona for Intersport Racing with co-drivers Jon Field, Ryan Jones, and Mike Shank in the Can-Am class. The car would start in 8th place would finish in 42nd place (14th in its class) after retiring after 399 laps due to a gearbox failure.[7][8]

In the 2007 season, Hornish returned to compete in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona for Michael Shank Racing with Mark Patterson, Oswaldo Negri, Jr., and Helio Castroneves in the DP class. The car would start in 22nd place both in its class and overall. In the race, the car finished in 9th place both in its class and overall with 628 laps complete.[9][10]

IndyCar Series[edit]

2000: PDM Racing[edit]

Hornish began to compete in the IndyCar Series in the 2000 season[1] for PDM Racing in the No. 18 G-Force GF05-Oldsmobile Aurora L47 V8. Hornish made his debut at the season-opening race at Walt Disney World Speedway, starting in 19th place and finished in 20th place, 28 laps down.[11] At the third race of the season, the Vegas Indy 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hornish started 18th and scored his first career podium finish (scoring third), albeit one lap down.[12] Hornish would qualify for his first Indianapolis 500 in 14th place after the team replaced the G-Force with a Dallara IR00.[13] In the race, Hornish was involved in a mid-race accident,[14] which would relegate him to 24th place.[13] At Kentucky Speedway, Hornish started in 20th place and led for his first career series laps (38), finishing in 9th place.[15] Hornish would end his season finishing in 27th (last) place at Texas Motor Speedway.[16] His rookie season saw him finish 21st in the point standings, scoring 110 points.[17]

2001−2003: Panther Racing[edit]

Before the 2001 Indy Racing League season, Hornish would move to Panther Racing[1] to drive the No. 4 Dallara IR01-Oldsmobile Aurora L47 V8. Hornish started the season with consecutive victories at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami, his first two races with the team.[1] At the Indianapolis 500, Hornish qualified in 13th place. He would finish in 14th place, four laps down after an early spin.[18] Hornish would continue to run well, clinching the championship before the final race of the season, earning a 2nd-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway. As the winner of each race is awarded 50 points, Hornish's 66-point advantage was enough to have clinched the championship with one race remaining.[19] At the season-ending race at Texas, Hornish started on the pole position and led 115 laps to get his third win of the season.[20] Hornish would win the championship with 503 points, scoring 105 more points than 2nd-place Buddy Lazier.[20] At age 22, he also became the youngest champion in series history.[2]

For the 2002 season, Hornish returned to Panther Racing, with the team changing manufactures and running a Chevrolet V8. At the season-opening Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami, Hornish qualified on the pole position and led 166 of 200 laps to win his fourth career race in the series.[21] Hornish would then win the Yahmaha Indy 400 at California Speedway after beating Jaques Lazier by 0.028 seconds.[22] At the Indianapolis 500, Hornish qualified in 7th place. In the race Hornish would brush the wall on lap 78, damaging the suspension. Hornish would later return to the race and finish in 25th place, ten laps down.[23] Hornish would win again three races later at the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway.[24] At the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland, Hornish beat Al Unser, Jr. to win the race by only 0.0024 seconds, the closest finish in series history.[25][26] In the final race of the season at Texas, Hornish started in 3rd place and led for 79 laps to win the race by 0.01 seconds.[27] Hornish won his second-consecutive championship, scoring a total five wins and 11 top-five finishes during the season.[1]

The beginning of the 2003 season saw Hornish struggle in comparison with his previous two years at Panther. At the Indianapolis 500, Hornish qualified in 18th place; in the race, he retired with a blown engine after completing 195 of the 200 laps. Hornish would finish the race in 15th place and would drop to a tie with Buddy Rice for 12th place in points.[28] At the following race at Pikes Peak, Hornish started in 14th place and finished in 5th place. This result would be Hornish's first lead lap finish of the season.[29] Around this time Panther Racing, and several other teams using the Chevrolet engine, switched from the Chevrolet engine built by General Motors (the parent company of Chevrolet) to a new engine built by Cosworth that was badged as a Chevrolet engine.[30] After the change Hornish's results would begin to improve, with him starting fourth and finishing second after leading for 126 of 200 laps at Michigan International Speedway.[31] Two races later, at Kentucky Speedway, Hornish qualified pole position and led for 181 of 200 laps to win the race.[32] Hornish would then get two consecutive wins at Chicagoland and at California Speedway.[29] In the former race, Hornish would win by 0.01 seconds over Scott Dixon and Bryan Herta, making the spread between the top three the closest such spread in series history.[33] Going into the season-ending Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Hornish was mathematically eligible win the championship; however, his car had a spray problem after 176 of 195 laps.[34] Hornish would finish in 17th place, earning a fifth-place result in the final point standings with 461 points.[34]

2004−2007: Team Penske[edit]

Hornish would begin to drive for Marlboro Team Penske during the 2004 IndyCar Series season.[1] Hornish would drive the No. 6 Dallara IR03-Toyota Indy V8. At the season-opening race at Homestead-Miami, Hornish won the race in his first event with his new team.[1] Hornish would qualify in 11th place at the Indianapolis 500. In the race, Hornish was battling for the lead with Buddy Rice and Dan Wheldon and would eventually lead for nine laps, the first laps Hornish led in his Indianapolis 500 career. On lap 105, entering the main straightaway out of turn 4, Hornish was attempting to pass Darren Manning for position and the lapped car of Greg Ray when the three collided and crashed into the pit lane. Hornish would finish in 26th place and would drop to ninth place in the point standings.[35] The rest of the season saw rather sub-par performances by Hornish's standards, with Hornish only finishing on the podium two times throughout the rest of the season.[36] Hornish would finish seventh in the final point standings with 387 points,[37] making this Hornish's worst finish in the final point standings since finishing in 21st place in 2000.

Hornish returned to Team Penske for the 2005 season. At Phoenix, the second race of the season, Hornish started in 2nd place and won the race after leading for 25 laps.[38] During practice for the Indianapolis 500, Hornish crashed in practice when Paul Dana crashed in turn 2. Hornish would then drive over a piece of debris from Dana's car and would flip over.[39] Two days later, Hornish qualified in 2nd place; however, he would crash out of the race after leading for a race-high 77 laps, finishing in 23rd place.[40] At the Milwaukee Mile, Hornish would qualify on the pole position and lead for 123 of 225 laps to get his second win of the season after passing Dario Franchitti with nine laps to go in the race.[41] He would finish in 3rd place in the final point standings with 512 points.[42]

In 2006, Hornish would return with Team Penske; the team changed manufactures, running with Honda after both Toyota and Chevrolet exited the series after the 2005 season. The highlight of Hornish's season came at the Indianapolis 500; Hornish would pass Andretti for the lead on the final lap to win the race,[1] with the margin of victory being the second-closest in the race's history.[43] Hornish later said about the pass, "I figured I came all this way, I ought to give myself one more shot at it. I kind of looked at it as, I was going to drive over him if I had to. For Marco to come as a rookie and drive like that he should be proud no matter what."[44][45][46] Hornish would get his second win of the season at Richmond after leading for all but 38 laps.[47] Hornish would take the points lead in the championship after winning the following race at Kansas.[48] Hornish would then get his fourth, and final, win of the season at Kentucky after starting 2nd and leading for 57 laps.[49] At the season-ending race at Chicagoland, Hornish qualified on the pole position and finished in third place; good enough to clinch his third championship,[50] which was also Penske's first championship in the series.[1] Hornish and Dan Wheldon finished the year with the same amount of points; Hornish had four wins, while Wheldon had two, and the championship was decided on a tiebreaker based on wins.[51]

Hornish practicing for the 2007 Indianapolis 500.

Hornish returned to Penske for the 2007 season. At the Indianapolis 500, Hornish started in 5th place. He ran consistently in the top ten and would finish in fourth place when the race was stopped permanently after 166 laps due to rain.[52] Hornish's only win of the season was the Bombardier Learjet 550 at Texas Motor Speedway, where he started in 2nd place and led for 159 of 228 laps.[53] Hornish would get his best finish in the series on a road course or street circuit at the Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix with a second-place finish that was overshadowed by an altercation between him and Tony Kanaan.[54] At the season-ending race at Chicagoland, Hornish ended his IndyCar career with a third-place finish after starting second and leading for a race-high 90 laps; he also finished fifth in the championship points standings.[55]

After the 2007 season, Hornish remained optimistic about making an IndyCar return eventually, saying, "I hope they move the schedule so that somebody could do it. That's my goal. If I never ran in the Indy 500 again or an IndyCar Series race I would probably say I would be disappointed about that."[56] Hornish has received some offers to return since his departure; in late 2008, Hornish was rumored to be making a return to the series to replace Hélio Castroneves for the 2009 season,[57] as Castroneves faced legal trouble on IRS charges. Castroneves was eventually cleared, missing only the season-opener as Will Power drove for the team in his absence.[58] Additionally, in November 2013, Hornish was offered a chance to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2014 season after Dario Franchitti suffered career-ending injuries at the 2013 Shell-Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. Hornish would eventually decline the offer.[59]

International Race of Champions[edit]

Hornish competing in the 2006 International Race of Champions race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Hornish was invited to compete in the 2002,[60] 2003,[61] and 2006 International Race of Champions (IROC).[62][63] His best championship points finish in the series was eighth, which he accomplished in the latter two seasons he participated in.[64][65]

NASCAR[edit]

2006−2007: Busch Series[edit]

Hornish spinning out his car at the 2007 O'Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway.

Hornish began competing in the NASCAR Busch Series in the No. 39 Dodge Charger late in the 2006 season for Penske Racing.[66] Hornish drove in the last two events of the season,[67] struggling in both races. At Phoenix, he started 27th and finished in the 36th position due to a crash on lap 187.[68] He would then compete at the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami, where he was involved a crash after five laps and finished in last place.[69]

Hornish in the pit lane during practice for the 2007 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Hornish would return to the series in 2007 and would drive nine races during the season for Penske in the No. 12.[70] He would record both his best start and his best finish of the season at the Nicorette 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he started in fifth place and finished in 15th.[71] Hornish would also earn a top-ten start of sixth place at the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami. Despite the good qualifying run, he finished 38th due to a crash with Todd Bodine on lap 114.[72]

Midway through the 2007 season, Hornish would compete in an ARCA Re/Max Series race at Michigan International Speedway for Penske in the No. 27 Dodge Charger. Before the race, Hornish qualified on the pole position;[73] he led the first 29 laps of the race before getting passed by eventual winner Erik Darnell.[74][75] Hornish would maintain a second-place finish.[62][76] He claimed after the race that the transition to stock cars would continue to be a "challenge," saying, "I'm a student at this, still trying to learn as much as I can. A lot of people have asked me what the toughest transition is, coming over here from the IndyCars and doing these stock car races, and really it's the fact I don't get much practice time."[62]

At the end of the season, Hornish began to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Penske Racing South in the No. 06 Dodge Charger, failing to qualify for the first six races he attempted.[77][78] Hornish successfully qualified for his debut the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix, starting in 26th place and finishing in 30th place, two laps down.[79] Hornish would also qualify for the following race at Homestead-Miami, starting in 29th place. Hornish would crash in turn 3 on lap 194 and would finish in 37th place, thirteen laps down.[80]

2008−2010: Penske Racing[edit]

Hornish practicing for the 2008 Daytona 500.

In 2008, Hornish began to compete for Penske full-time in the renumbered No. 77 car.[81] Prior to the season, Penske swapped the owners points and Kurt Busch's cars; as a result, Hornish would be guaranteed a starting position in each of the first five races, while Busch, who won the series championship in 2004, would also be guaranteed a starting position due to him being the most recent series champion who was driving a car that was not ranked inside of the top 35 for owners points.[82] At the season-opening Daytona 500, Hornish qualified in 19th place; he would finish in 15th place,[83] while teammates Ryan Newman and Busch won the race and finished second respectively.[84] At the second race of the season, the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway, Casey Mears crashed into Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on lap 22 in an accident collecting Hornish. Mears' car would flip 270 degrees and Hornish's car caught on fire.[85] Hornish would finish in 43rd place.[86] While Hornish largely struggled in his rookie season, he performed well at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. At the Sprint Showdown at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Hornish started eight place and finished in second place.[87] Hornish would thus qualify for Sprint All-Star Race XXIV and would start in 23rd place out of 24 cars. He would finish in 7th place.[88] Hornish would then get his best finish of the season at the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, with a 13th-place finish.[89] Late in the season, the team dropped out of the top 35 in owners points, and Hornish would fail to qualify at both the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway and the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.[90] Hornish would finish in 35th place in drivers points with 2,523 points.[91] Hornish would finish second in the rookie of the year standings after a season-long battle with Regan Smith.[92]

Hornish racing a remote controlled car prior to the 2008 season.

Additionally, Hornish continued to run some races for Penske in the newly-renamed Nationwide Series, failing to qualify for his first two races of the season.[93] His best finish of the season was a 11th-place finish at the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway, where he started in 12th place.[94] At the Carquest Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Hornish led his first laps in the series (eight); however, a mid-race accident relegated him to 39th-place finish.[95] Late in the season, Hornish also attempted one race in the Craftsman Truck Series for Bobby Hamilton Racing in the No. 4 Dodge Ram. He competed at the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway, starting 16th and scoring a ninth-place finish.[96]

For the 2009 Sprint Cup season, Hornish returned with Penske, which was now known as Penske Championship Racing.[97] For the second consecutive year, Hornish's team would change owners' points (this time purchasing them from Dave Blaney and Bill Davis Racing) to guarantee Hornish a starting spot in the season's first five races.[97] At the season-opening Daytona 500, Hornish started in 29th place and would finish in 32nd place, one lap down.[98] Hornish would earn his first top-ten finish finish of his career at Phoenix, finishing in ninth place; he would finish in the top-ten six more times during the season.[99] At the Sprint Showdown at Lowe's Motor Speedway, making Hornish eligible to run in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.[100] In the race, Hornish started in 19th place and finished in 16th place.[101] Later in the season, Hornish would earn two top-five finishes: a career-best fourth at Pocono, as well as a fifth-place result at Michigan.[99] Hornish would finish in 28th place in the final standings with 3,203 points.[102]

Hornish returned to Penske for the 2010 season. At the season-opening Daytona 500, Hornish started 26th, but was involved in an early accident on the ninth lap of the race. He would finish in 37th place with 160 of 208 laps complete.[103] Hornish's qualifying performance would show slight improvement during the rest of the season, with him scoring three top-five qualifying results throughout the season.[104] Hornish got his only top-ten finish of the season with a tenth-place performance at the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.[105] Hornish would finish in 29th place in the standings with 3,214 points.[106] After the season, Hornish's longtime sponsor, Mobil 1, departed from Hornish and Penske to sponsor Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing.[107] In the 2010 Nationwide Series, Hornish only competed in the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami.[108] He would drive for Brian Keselowski Motorsports in conjunction with Penske in the No. 26 Dodge Avenger. Hornish would start in 12th place and finish in 21st place.[109]

2011−2014: Return to Nationwide competition[edit]

Hornish competing in the 2012 Sargento 200 at Road America.

Before the 2011 season, lack of funding forced Penske to sell the owners' points of their No. 77 entry to Rusty Wallace Racing, to be driven by car owner Rusty Wallace's son and team driver Steve Wallace at the season-opening Daytona 500.[110] As a result, Penske would move Hornish to the Nationwide Series to drive the team's No. 12 Dodge Charger. Hornish would only compete at the 5-hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway in the No. 38 Ford Fusion for Front Row Motorsports, filling in for Travis Kvapil as the latter was participating in a Truck Series event at Texas.[111] Hornish would start in 26th place and finish in 35th place, 60 laps down.[112][113] Hornish ran a total of 12 races with the No. 12 team, moving to Penske's No. 22 for a 13th race at Iowa Speedway.[114] He ran strongly at Iowa, starting in 3rd place and taking the lead on lap 13 through lap 51, although he would later drop five laps down to finish in 24th place.[115] At the WYPALL* 200 Powered by Kimberly-Clark Professional at Phoenix International Raceway, Hornish started in 5th place and led for the final 61 laps of the race after passing Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who led a race-high 73 laps, for the lead.[116] Hornish would go on to win the race for his first career victory in the series.[117]

Hornish returned to the series for a full-time season in 2012 for Penske.[118] He failed to record a win, though he did earn second-place finishes at Indianapolis, Montréal, and Kentucky.[119] At Talladega Superspeedway, Hornish was involved in an altercation after he made contact with Danica Patrick. Following the race Patrick intentionally spun Hornish's car into the main straightaway wall.[120] Hornish would finish out the season with a fourth-place finish at the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.[121] He would finish in fourth in points with 1,146 points.[122]

Hornish in the pit lane at the 2012 GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Hornish returned to the Sprint Cup Series for one race in the No. 12 for Penske at the STP 400 at Kansas Speedway. At Kansas, Hornish started in 10th place. In the race, Hornish led for 7 laps and finised in 19th place, one lap down.[123] Midway through the season, Hornish replaced A. J. Allmendinger in Penske's No. 22 car after the latter was suspended by NASCAR for failing a random drug test. Allmendinger qualified the car in 8th place and due to the driver change Hornish had to move to the rear of the field. Hornish would finish in 33rd place after a mid-race crash that required ten laps of repair time.[124] Hornish would drive the car at all remaining races,[125] earning a season best fifth-place finish at Watkins Glen.[126][127] Aside from this race, his best finish was a trio of 11th-place finishes at the Atlanta, Richmond, and Chicagoland.[125] Hornish's best start of the season was a fourth-place start Dover, where he would finish in 25th place, seven laps down.[128]

One of Hornish's 2013 cars at the Team Penske facilities.

Hornish returned with Nationwide Series full-time for Penske for the 2013 season to drive the No. 12, which was now a Ford Mustang after Penske changed manufactures. Hornish's 2013 campaign was statistically his best to date; he finished the year with 16 top-five and 25 top-ten finishes.[129] At the season-opening DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway, Hornish started and finished in the second position despite being involved in a major crash on the final lap. Due to Stewart only being eligible to score point towards the Cup Series, Hornish was the points leader for the series following the Daytona race.[130] At the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hornish led for 114 laps to win his second career race.[131] Going into the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway Hornish was ranked 2nd in points, eight points behind Austin Dillon. Hornish would qualify on the pole position and would lead for 37 laps. He would finish in 8th place while Dillon finished in 12th place and won the series championship.[132] Hornish would finish 2nd in the final point standings with 1,177 points.[133] During the season, car owner Roger Penske announced that Hornish, who had driven for the team since 2004, would be released from the team due to a lack of sponsorship.[134][135] Hornish also planned to drive the No. 12 for Penske in the Sprint Cup Series, at Kansas and at Talladega. At Kansas, Hornish started in 4th place and ran as high as 3rd place before crashing on lap 183 due to winds.[136][137] At Talladega, qualifying was canceled due to rain and Hornish failed to qualify for the race due to a lack of other race attempts throughout the rest of the season.[138]

In 2014, Hornish began to drive part-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the No. 54 Toyota Camry for a part-time season.[139] Hornish drove seven races in the No. 54,[140] while also driving the No. 20 Camry at Michigan, where he finished second.[141] While in the No. 54, Hornish won pole awards at Talladega and Mid-Ohio.[140] The highlight of the season for Hornish came at the Get To Know Newton 250 at Iowa Speedway; Hornish started in 2nd place and led for 167 laps to win the race.[142] Despite running a limited schedule, Hornish would finish in 27th place in points with 242 points, making him the highest-ranked driver to start in less than ten events.[143] Gibbs would also appoint Hornish to drive at the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in the No. 11 Camry,[144] as regular driver Denny Hamlin was unfit to race due to a sinus infection negatively affecting his vision.[145] In the race, Hornish would finish in 17th place.[146]

2015−present: Richard Petty Motorsports[edit]

"He's a family man who fits well with our core values and he will be a great ambassador for our partners. Sam's also proven that he can win races and compete for a championship. He came into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with a steep learning curve from open-wheel racing, but has shown in the Nationwide Series that he is a winner. We feel that he can get the No. 9 team to Victory Lane and compete in the Chase for us."

Richard Petty, announcing his team's signing of Hornish.[147]

For 2015, Hornish returned to the Sprint Cup Series full-time to drive the No. 9 Ford Fusion for Richard Petty Motorsports. Hornish replaced Marcos Ambrose, who returned to racing in V8 Supercars for DJR Team Penske.[147] He began the season with a 12th-place finish at the Daytona 500, after starting in 38th place.[148] Hornish would struggle after the season-opener, scoring four finishes of 30th or worse over the next eight races.[149] At the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Hornish earned what is currently a season-best finish of sixth-place;[150][151] following the race, Kevin Manion replaced Drew Blickensderfer as Hornish's crew chief.[151] Hornish would later finish in the top-ten at both road course races, placing tenth and ninth at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International respectively.[152][153] At the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, Hornish was involved in a single-car accident on lap 155, driving into the infield at nearly full speed. The splitter of Hornish's car was pushed under the front of the car and Hornish nearly flipped when the front of the car dug into the grass. Hornish then nearly flipped again when crossing a road that safety vehicles use to have access to the track.[154] Hornish would retire from the race and finish in 30th place.[155]

Hornish would also drive part-time for Biagi-DenBeste Racing in the No. 98 Ford Mustang in the renamed Xfinity Series.[156] Through three races with the team, Hornish has earned a single lead-lap finish, placing 14th at Texas.[157]

Personal life[edit]

Hornish with his daughter Addison during driver introductions at the 2014 Gardner Denver 200 at Road America.

Hornish is a 1998 graduate of Archbold High School in Archbold, Ohio and now resides in Napoleon, Ohio.[1]

On February 4, 2008, Hornish's wife, Crystal, gave birth to the couple's first child, Addison Faith Hornish. The couple would have their second child, Eliza Jo Hornish, on December 28, 2010. Hornish's third child, this time a son named Samuel Hornish III, was born in January 2014.

Media appearances[edit]

Film and television[edit]

As early as 2004, Hornish made frequent guest appearances on the auto racing talk and call-in show WindTunnel with Dave Despain.[158] After winning the Indianapolis 500, Hornish appeared on the talk show Live! with Regis and Kelly on May 31, 2006. Hornish then appeared as a guest on Late Show with David Letterman on June 5, 2006. Hornish would later appear as a guest on the show on September 12, 2014 due to him winning the 2006 IndyCar Series championship.

Hornish has also served as narrator of the American version of the British animated television series Roary the Racing Car, replacing former British racing driver Stirling Moss. Hornish later called the opportunity his "one chance to do something Stirling Moss did."[159]

In 2010, Hornish was a guest on the talk show NASCAR Trackside, which features various drivers from the past and present, along with various celebrities who are at the race. In 2012, Hornish became the co-host of the auto racing news and highlight show SPEED Center.[160] Hornish would co-host with Adam Alexander on episodes of the show that aired on Sundays.

When Hornish joined SPEED Center, he also became a reporter for SpeedTV. He would be featured on both Speed Center episodes that he was not in the studio for and NASCAR Race Hub. Hornish would remain with the network until it was replaced with Fox Sports 1 on August 17, 2013.

In 2014, Hornish served as a color commentator for the NBCSN broadcast of the IndyCar GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.[161] Hornish would also work sporadically as an NASCAR analyst for Fox Sports 1 throughout the season.[162]

Video games[edit]

Hornish's Panther Racing car is featured cover on the cover of the 2003 IndyCar Series video game.[163]

In the 2012 video game NASCAR The Game: Inside Line, Hornish replaced A. J. Allmendinger as the driver of the #22 Penske car;[164] despite driving the #12 in early versions of the game, his car was changed after Allmendinger failed a random drug test. In NASCAR '15, Hornish's #9 is sponsored by Medallion Bank; his other primary sponsor, Twisted Tea, is not in the game due to it being an alcohol brand.

Motorsports career results[edit]

American open-wheel racing results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Atlantic Championship[edit]

IndyCar Series[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position)

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)

Indianapolis 500[edit]

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
2000 Dallara IR00 Oldsmobile Aurora L47 V8 14 24 PDM Racing
2001 Dallara IR01 Oldsmobile Aurora L47 V8 13 14 Panther Racing
2002 Dallara IR02 Chevrolet V8 7 25 Panther Racing
2003 Dallara IR03 Chevrolet V8 18 15 Panther Racing
2004 Dallara IR03 Toyota Indy V8 11 26 Marlboro Team Penske
2005 Dallara IR03 Toyota Indy V8 2 23 Marlboro Team Penske
2006 Dallara IR03 Ilmor-Honda Indy V8 HI4R 1 1 Marlboro Team Penske
2007 Dallara IR05 Ilmor-Honda Indy V8 HI7R 5 4 Team Penske

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Daytona 500 results[edit]
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
2008 Penske Racing South Dodge 19 15
2009 Penske Championship Racing 29 32
2010 36 37
2015 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford 38 12

Xfinity Series[edit]

Craftsman Truck Series[edit]

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

ARCA Re/Max Series[edit]

(key) (Bold – Pole position awarded by qualifying time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings or practice time. * – Most laps led.)

Rolex 24 at Daytona[edit]

(key)

International Race of Champions[edit]

(key) (Bold – Pole position. * – Most laps led.)

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External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Buddy Lazier
Dan Wheldon
IRL IndyCar Series Champion
2001, 2002
2006
Succeeded by
Scott Dixon
Dario Franchitti
Achievements
Preceded by
Dan Wheldon
Indianapolis 500 Winner
2006
Succeeded by
Dario Franchitti
Awards
Preceded by
Kenny Bräck
Scott Brayton Trophy
2006
Succeeded by
Tony Kanaan