What the Sam Hornish Jr is going on

Posted by Iannucci | 6/21/2007 | 6 comments »
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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.

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.
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.

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.


  1. Anonymous // June 21, 2007 11:44 AM  

    As a lifelong Andretti fan I think you for pointing out that Aj isn't the only one to win both races.

    Sam is going to be hard pressed to win Daytona or Brickyard if he doesn't run napcar full time.

    I think he's leaving because they keep adding courses where he has to turn right, and it could stand to make him irrelevant in the seasonal standings.

  2. Anonymous // June 21, 2007 11:46 AM  

    I forgot to mention that I also don't see him winning in Napcar with Penske. I don't follow it, but from what I can tell Penske isn't a factor in Nascar like he is in Indy. Just sayin'.

  3. Johnny // June 21, 2007 12:04 PM  

    Yeah, not sure he even make the sponsor obligations to run both series seriously, let alone acclimate well enough to the tin top to contend at Daytona or the Brickyard, 2 of NASCAR's more challenging races.

  4. pressdog // June 21, 2007 12:50 PM  

    Sammy may be getting bored with the IRL. Been there, won that. Free country. Basically every driver in the IRL would jump at NASCAR ride. Every American driver, fo sho. Sadly that's become the big leagues of American racing.

  5. TheAmericanMutt // June 21, 2007 1:18 PM  

    It's a sad state of affair when the big leagues go forty miles an hour slower, but I guess you're right Pressdog.

  6. Anonymous // June 22, 2007 8:57 AM  

    Uncle Sam is going to have to make a choice. The only way he will WIN in Nascar at Super Speedways is to go full time. He won't be accepted by the other drivers if he doesn't and they will shut him down come race time. Remember you can block and trade paint in Nascar. If Sam goes Nascar he needs to pay his dues in the Busch series for a year or he won't get the respect he needs from the other drivers. If he goes full time Nascar he can kiss the INDY 500 good-bye. Tony Stewart has made it known the last couple years that his Nascar contract states he can't do the double in May.