Sam Hornish Jr. leads career-high 167 laps en route to dominating Nationwide Series win at Iowa Speedway
May 18, 2014, 4:55 PM EST
Like a runaway freight train, Sam Hornish Jr. was hooked up like he was on a rail, leading 167 of 250 scheduled laps to dominate and ultimately win Sunday’s Get to Know Newton 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway.
Making only his second of seven scheduled starts this season in the NNS for Joe Gibbs Racing, Hornish had the strongest car, holding off runner-up Ryan Blaney by .699 seconds.
“I knew this would be a great opportunity for me,” Hornish said. “I know it’s seven races, but it’s also seven chances to win, every time you get into the car.”
Hornish finished fifth at Talladega in his first start of the season for JGR two weeks ago, and Sunday’s performance just verified Hornish’s offseason decision to forego a return to Penske Racing and instead move to JGR.
“It’s just awesome,” Hornish said of his first career win on a short track (Iowa is a .875-mile D-shaped oval). “To get out there and get in this car seven times a year, we take advantage of it. We got a pole at Talladega, finished fifth and then we did what we had to do today.
“When it got down to the end of the race, I just drove my guts out to try and get us a lead. It was just an awesome day.”
The 167 laps Hornish led are a NASCAR (both NNS and Sprint Cup) career-high for him in a single race.
There were just three leaders and nine overall lead changes in the race, which had just five cautions for 31 laps.
Blaney, who essentially replaced Hornish at Team Penske after last season, led 81 laps, but following a final restart with 20 laps remaining, he just couldn’t catch Hornish.
“We weren’t good enough on new tires,” Blaney said. “We took off way too tight. … Just too much to bear there with the 54 on new tires. … It just wasn’t enough.”
Regan Smith finished third.
“We were just struggling all day long for clean air,” Smith said. “We had two of our (JR Motorsports) cars in the top five (teammate Chase Elliott was fourth). You can’t be mad about that.”
One day after graduating from high school, Elliott retained his lead in the standings, slightly increasing his edge from one to two points over Elliott Sadler and Smith, who are tied for second.
“We just kept having to play catch-up all day,” Elliott said. “This Nationwide Series is tough. Our program needs a little work. We’ll go back and work on it and get ready for next week at Charlotte.”
Sadler was happy for Hornish, his JGR teammate, but not so much for his own fifth-place finish, especially since he wasn’t able to finish ahead of Chase Elliott or to overtake him for the NNS points lead.
“A top-five finish was not what we wanted, but it could be worse,” Sadler said.
Going back to the standings, Elliott, Sadler and Smith are starting to turn things into somewhat of a runaway, as Dillon is fourth (35 points back), followed by Bayne in fifth (36 points back), Brian Scott in sixth (-64 points), Gaughan in seventh (-97), James Buescher in eighth (-110), Chris Buescher in ninth (-119) and Landon Cassill in 10th (-121).
Follow me @JerryBonkowski
Petty’s 1988 Daytona wreck sold as prelude to upcoming auction of NASCAR Hall of Famer Cotton Owens estate
Nov 23, 2014, 3:53 PM EST
The remains of Richard Petty’s crashed 1988 Pontiac Grand Prix from the 1988 Daytona 500 sold Saturday, a prelude of an even larger auction of late NASCAR Hall of Famer Cotton Owens on Dec. 6.
Nov 23, 2014, 2:30 PM EST
This weekend is the first without a NASCAR race since mid-July.
Nov 23, 2014, 2:00 PM EST
For the last time in 2014, we round up all of the action in the paddock as Lewis Hamilton became Formula 1 world champion for the second time.
Nov 23, 2014, 1:30 PM EST
It’s not enough to beat McLaren in the constructors’, but a great result nevertheless for Hulkenberg and Perez in Abu Dhabi.
Nov 23, 2014, 1:15 PM EST
Lotus laughs rather than cries after a fitting end to its challenging 2014 season.
Nov 23, 2014, 12:45 PM EST
Quite a drive from Daniel Ricciardo, primarily aided by start on primes.
Nov 23, 2014, 12:15 PM EST
After winning four world titles with Red Bull, Vettel is bound for Ferrari in 2015.
Nov 23, 2014, 11:45 AM EST
On a great day for British motorsport, Prince Harry and British Prime Minister David Cameron send their congratulations to Hamilton.
Nov 23, 2014, 11:30 AM EST
Alonso is set to join McLaren in 2015 after five years with Ferrari.
Nov 23, 2014, 11:15 AM EST
An engine failure cost Rosberg the chance to emulate his father and become F1 world champion.
Nov 23, 2014, 10:56 AM EST
Second and third for Massa and Bottas caps an incredible 2014 season for Williams.
Nov 23, 2014, 10:13 AM EST
British driver wins his second F1 championship in Abu Dhabi as title rival Nico Rosberg fails to finish in the points.
Nov 23, 2014, 9:45 AM EST
An engine failure for Nico Rosberg leaves Hamilton free to win the race under the lights in Abu Dhabi and clinch his second world title.
Nov 23, 2014, 8:30 AM EST
F1′s feeder series comes to a close in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Nov 23, 2014, 7:45 AM EST
The third tier single seater series comes to a close in Abu Dhabi, with Alex Lynn winning the championship.
Nov 23, 2014, 7:15 AM EST
Nico Rosberg will lead the grid away for the 11th and final time in 2014 later today.
Nov 23, 2014, 6:45 AM EST
Nico Rosberg and Lewi Hamilton’s date with destiny awaits in Abu Dhabi today.
Nov 23, 2014, 6:30 AM EST
Spaniard responds to comments made by Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci earlier this week.
Nov 23, 2014, 6:00 AM EST
The 2014 Formula 1 season has been a sensational one, but the championship will finally be decided today in Abu Dhabi. Will it be Lewis or Nico?
Video from NASCAR America
- Abu Dhabi GP Paddock Notebook – Sunday 0
- Hamilton calls second title victory “the greatest day of my life” 0
- Hamilton clinches second F1 world title by winning Abu Dhabi GP 4
- The Final Showdown: Hamilton and Rosberg prepare for one final battle in Abu Dhabi 0
- Vettel and Ricciardo to start Abu Dhabi GP from pit lane 0
- Abu Dhabi GP Paddock Notebook – Saturday 0
- Red Bull drivers excluded from qualifying in Abu Dhabi 2