I’m a few days behind on some of my reading, so today I cam across this article from the Des Moines Register about Sam Hornish Jr and his goals. For much of this season, we have all concluded that Sam was just going through the motions in between racing every kind of fendered vehicle he could get Roger Penske to prep for him. We have assumed that our dear Uncle Sam was gone at the end of this season, much like Tony Stewart packed up budding IndyCar career and headed for the greener pastures (as in paved with cash) of NAPCAR.
Well, we may be off a bit in our predictions. If reporter Rob Gray is to be believed, then there’s a glimmer of hope for those of us that would like to see Uncle Sam stick around in the ICS for a while longer.
Ambition, not dollar signs, feeds Hornish's desire to dabble in NASCAR, and possibly do more down the road...His long-range goals dwell in the rarefied air of the unprecedented.If these are really the items at top of Sam’s “to do” list, the thing to keep in mind is that BOTH of these goals could be met even if Sam remained on a full schedule of ICS events. The Daytona 500 is run in early February prior to the start of the IndyCar season, and the Brickyard 400 is always held at IMS during an off week in the ICS schedule.
No. 1: He yearns for the chance to become the first driver to win both the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400.
No. 2: Winning the Daytona 500 would be nice as well, as only A.J. Foyt, a grand marshal at Sunday's Iowa Corn Indy 250, has won both the Indy and Daytona 500s.
This isn’t an entirely unreasonable proposition, since joining Foyt (and the egregiously omitted Mario Andretti, Rob) in any motorsport accomplishment is an worthwhile pursuit. In fact, considering all Sam has accomplished it’s probably a good thing that he’s setting such ambitious goals and not remaining complacent. Modern day racing could benefit well from a successful cross-series competitor, and realistically Tony Stewart is the closest we’ve gotten to that in a while.
This just in: Tony Stewart is quite popular.
Now, it’s true the best way to accomplish Sam’s goals is committing to all tin tops all the time, but Hornish appears to making a go of it (at least this year) by racing in Busch or ARCA or whatever during only the free weekends he and Roger Penske have. And if this “part-time” course of action can be shown improve his performance and put himself in a position to be competitive, then who’s to say he won’t do this again next year.
This may be a pollyanna point of view, but if Mr Gray is right then either Sam’s ambitions have been grossly overstated or The Captain has helped him focus on what exactly it is that Hornish wants. In other words, he may not be so gone after all.
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