Indy 500 Champ to attempt NASCAR Debut
Current Kansas Lottery Indy 300 and Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr. will attempt to qualify for his first NASCAR race in the No. 39 Mobil 1 Penske Racing Dodge this Saturday.
The Napoleon, Ohio native is a three-time Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion with the most success in the open-wheel series; he holds the most career victories, laps led, races led, and wins from the pole position. He is the only driver to win the series championship more than once and won for the first time at age 22, as the youngest series champion in IRL history.
With two wins in his six IndyCar Series races at Phoenix International Raceway, Hornish has high hopes for his chances in the NASCAR Busch Series Arizona Travel 200.
"I've completed a lot of laps at Phoenix in an IndyCar the last several years. Hopefully, that experience will transfer to our preparations this week with the Busch car," Hornish said.
Hornish will also attempt to compete in the season-finale Busch race at Homestead, Fla., on November 17. He joins former Formula One driver and fellow Indy 500 champ Juan Pablo Montoya in the recent cross of open-wheel drivers into NASCAR.
Hornish has had prior experience competing with NASCAR drivers Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth in the 2006 Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC). Similar to Hornish, Stewart made his first move to NASCAR in 1998 as a former IRL IndyCar Series champion. He advanced to the NEXTEL Cup Series to become Rookie of the Year in 1999.
But Hornish has plans to remain a full-time IndyCar Series driver with Marlboro Team Penske through 2007. He will share a ride with Penske Racing drivers Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman in the NASCAR Busch Series, with potential for time in the NEXTEL Cup Series. He will also run in the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) stock cars when time permits.
Catch Hornish in record-breaking action with Danica Patrick and more stars of the IndyCar Series during the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 on April 29, 2007. Kick off race season with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 the day before. Complete your RPM Season Ticket Package with the NASCAR Busch Series Yellow Transportation 300 and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Kansas 400, Sept 29 and 30. Race to reserve your seat in 2007 by calling toll free, 866.460.RACE. Also log onto www.racetickets.com or the speedway's official Web site, www.kansasspeedway.com. Parking is always free at Kansas Speedway and fans are permitted to bring a 6x6x12-inch cooler with their favorite snacks and beverages to the track.