Tha Sports Junkies 101

Sam Hornish Jr. Returns to NASCAR



He is a former Indianapolis 500 Champion, IndyCar Series Champion, and a NASCAR Xfinity Series race winner. Sam Hornish Jr will make his return to stock car racing in the Team Penske number 22 Discount Tire Mustang.

Hornish, from Defiance, Ohio, is a decorated racing veteran who has seen the ups and downs of a NASCAR career. Whether it was Roger Penske, Joe Gibbs, Richard Childress, or Richard Petty, he has raced for some of the most iconic owners in the sport.

A 4-time race winner in the Xfinity Series, Hornish finished as a championship runner-up to Austin Dillon in 2013. At the time he was piloting the number 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge for Penske. After 2013, Penske released him, and Joe Gibbs hired him to pilot the 54 car part-time. He was able to win at Iowa that year.

For the 2015 season, Richard Petty Motorsports hired Hornish to drive the number 9 Ford in the Cup Series. He finished the year a dismal 26th in points. Since 2016, the former IndyCar champion has raced part time in the Xfinity Series. He made starts for both Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing in 2016.

Hornish’s return to Penske is currently a 3 race deal. He will run both Iowa races (June 24 and July 29) as well as the road course race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (August 12).  All 3 of these races are standalone Xfinity Series races, as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be elsewhere all 3 weekends.

The famed Team Penske Xfinity Series 22 car is one of the most coveted seats in all of NASCAR. This team won the 2010 Drivers Championship with Brad Keselowski, and has since then won 3 Owners Championships. They also won the inaugural Mid-Ohio Xfinity Series race in 2013 with AJ Allmendinger. The 22 team broke a 46-race losing streak last week at Pocono by winning with Keselowski.

This news regarding Sam Hornish Jr is a welcome sign for the Ohio native. Arguably the highlights of his NASCAR career came while driving Team Penske equipment, especially his 2013 season. He will be a factor in all 3 of his starts this year, the 22 car is always a top notch contender, regardless of who is driving.