Friday, January 14, 2011

Hornish Update: Out Of Luck In NASCAR?

I ready yesterday over at Fox Sports that Sam Hornish, Jr. is looking less and less likely to be in any sort of NASCAR ride for 2011. Does that make him more likely to participate in this year's Indy 500? I personally have my doubts, mainly because Sam's comments in regards to it have made it clear he's only slightly more excited in regards to a return to Indy as you or I would be in getting a barium enema.

The perception for a lot of fans is when Hornish went to NASCAR, is that he was unceremoniously abandoning open-wheel racing. His defenders will often say that as a champion, he was just moving on as a champion to the next challenge. However you view Sam Hornish, Jr., his returning for a one-shot at Indy would be an interesting storyline, and one more former champion trying to make the field of 33. Interestingly enough, the Indy 500 winner only had one other Top 10 finish at Indy, despite being a 3-time IRL champion.  His other finishes? 14th, 15th, 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th. Sam Hornish, Jr., would be a good story at Indy, but a better one might be which Sam Hornish, Jr. shows up.

Hornish at his last Indy 500 in 2007, where he finished 4th.

Photo courtesy of Carey Atkin. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.


  1. I have to agree that the odds against him returning to the Indy 500 are greater, but it's the 'why not' question that has most confused.

    Maybe he never really liked (GASP) Indycars?
    Maybe he's burnt some bridges of some sort?

    Whatever the reason, it's very curious that he's so reluctant to return to a place where his successes far outweigh his shortcomings. I think we're yet to hear the real story and it to me it just gets curiouser and curiouser...

  2. I don't consider Jeff Hammond a great source of information. I don't know why Sam's so anti-Indycar. When he left, he had "done everything" but, things have changed. Dixon, Dario, and Helio are all considered "better" than him now, and have advanced their place in history, while he's languished in NASCAR. And unlike AJ Allmindinger and Montoya, he hasn't shown any potential for success in NASCAR, so why not come back to what he's good at? Especially if he could get a good ride.

  3. @DZ: I’m not sure, and perhaps it’s as simple as it just it doesn’t interest him anymore. Maybe after a taste of NASCAR, he found that more to his liking.

    @Dylan: Honestly, I think if he did come back, it’d be a great storyline. He’d have his admirers and detractors, and that sort of conflict and passion is good for IndyCar. We’ll see if Sam changes his tune now, but historically, he has seemed apathetic at best to a return to American open-wheel.

  4. I don't think it's the idea of returning to the Indy 500 that bothers Hornish so much as the entire IndyCar schedule. Dude can't drive road courses and for most of his stint in the IRL they were an insignificant portion of the they're half the races. His mediocrity on half the schedule would be badly exposed now that most of the full-timers are better on road courses than him. Could I see him in a fourth Penske car at the 500? Yeah, maybe. Will he run a full schedule again? No.

    And I think Dixon, Dario, and Helio were all better than him before he left, too.

  5. I guess we'll see in a few months where it all goes. I sincerely doubt we'd see him outside of Indy, and am pretty doubtful as to Indy itself. But, it's racing, and anything can happen.

  6. Came across this last night via Brad Keselowskis twitter account...

    RT @keselowski: Sam will be my nns teammate in the #12dodge “@burgerking25: @keselowski is it true that Sam Hornish is out of Penske Racing?”

  7. Good find, Corey!

  8. Looks like Hornish may have a partial deal in NNS: