Whenever his stock car career concludes, Sam Hornish Jr should probably resign himself to the fact that between now and then he's always ALWAYS going to get asked if he's going back to the Indy Racing League. In fact, he doesn't even need to be asked to be speculated upon. Case in point Lee Spencer at FOXSports, talking about Elliot Sadler.
Sadler's possibilities are rumored to include the No. 41 Chevrolet at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing or the No. 77 Dodge at Penske Racing should Sam Hornish Jr. replace Helio Castroneves in the IRL IndyCar Series.Did you catch that? Very sly there, no? No one under employment from The Captain has given so much of a hint that Sam's coming back to open-wheel racing, but that didn't stop Spencer from dropping a little off-the-cuff possibility that Sam could replace Helio.
Of course, by posting this I'm sure blogger boy over here will get blamed for fueling the rumor. So be it.
In the interest of equal time I'd like to hand the keyboard over to Sam for a moment. Actually, he's not here right now, and since I'm typing from my bedroom it would be really creepy and awkward if he was. For both of us, I'm sure. However I do have the current issue of Racer with me, and in it Sam mentions that he's still pretty happy with his career path despite topping the crash list for 2008 to the tune of 20 accidents and spins in 34 stock car starts.
"I achieved more in Indy cars than I ever thought was possible, than I ever could have imagined when I was a kid. I got three championships, and I won the Indy 500. So I then thought it was time I tried something different, but I didn't want to just play at NASCAR. I always knew that getting good and getting quick in stock cars was going to be more than a one-year process. Here, I'm learning something new all the time and I'm constantly challenged.
"I'm in NASCAR for the long haul and I want to keep working at it. I'd be letting myself down if I just walked back to Indy cars."
It's worth noting that Sam may be talking about being "constantly challenged", which no one would argue at this point, but one thing that isn't challenged has been his bank account. A quick check of the N-Word site shows that Sam, who without registering a single Top 10 in 2008 finished 38th in the Cup standings, still managed to earn $4,547,370 this year. Four-point-five big ones, people. That’s more than Clint Bowyer, who finished in 5th (don't ask me how), and it’s definitely more than Scott Dixon made from racing in the IndyCar series this year.
In fact, it's like over $225K per crash. Why would anyone walk away from that?