Hornish Jr. on the move in Nationwide
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - After finishing second in last Saturday's road course race in Montreal, Sam Hornish Jr. continued his methodical climb in the Nationwide Series point standings.
Hornish has finished either second or third in the last four Nationwide races. In fact, the Penske Racing driver has scored 10 straight top-10 finishes and has accumulated more points than another driver in the series since the June event at Michigan.
Heading into Friday night's 250-lap race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Elliott Sadler holds a 22-point lead over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Hornish. Rookie Austin Dillon is 35 points out of the lead.
Some of Hornish's success in Nationwide might be attributed to his extra time on the track. Hornish has been driving Penske's No. 22 Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series since the first week in July at Daytona. Team owner Roger Penske called on him to take over driving duties of that car when A.J. Allmendinger was suspended by NASCAR for violating its substance abuse policy.
"Obviously, when you get more track time in a race car, things come a little bit easier for you, especially when you get the weekend's when you can run both series at the same track," Hornish said. "I just feel like we were making ourselves better."
Hornish has yet to win a Nationwide race this season. His first victory in the series came in Nov. 2011 at Phoenix.
"I feel like it will be harder to win over here (Nationwide Series) than in the Cup Series for me at this time," Hornish admitted. "I feel like a lot of times when I'm racing now in the Nationwide Series, I'm a little bit more points racing than I'd like to be. That's what has gotten us to the position where we are, and that's what we have to keep doing - keep the car going forward all day long, and if we come home fifth and that's what the car had, that's what we get.
"We're not at the point yet where we can start trying to take a fifth-place car and make it second because we need the points. If we keep doing what we're doing, we're going to get there. We just need to be smart at how we do it."
After 22 Nationwide races have been completed this season, Hornish is the only driver in the top-five in points without a victory. Sadler leads the way with four wins, followed by Stenhouse with three. Dillon and Justin Allgaier, who is fifth in the standings, have one victory each. Allgaier took the checkered flag at Montreal.
Hornish has competed in six Sprint Cup races and two Nationwide events at Bristol. Like all other competitors, Hornish comes to Bristol this time not knowing what to expect after the track's concrete surface has been changed.
"This trip to Bristol will be interesting after they made changes to the track since the last time we were there," he said. "During the previous race there, we learned some things that should be useful this weekend, even with the different surface."
Hornish finished 13th at Bristol earlier this year.
Forty-five teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Food City 250.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Friday, August 24. Race: Food City 250. Site: Bristol Motor Speedway. Track: 0.533-mile oval. Start time: 7:30 p.m.(ET). Laps: 250. Miles: 133.24. 2011 Winner: Kyle Busch. Television: ESPN. Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.
08/23 01:29:26 ET