Skip to content

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

Sam Hornish Jr. celebrates after his dominating win in Sunday's Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway. (Photo: AP/Charlie Neibergall) AP

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.

Sixth though 10th were Brian Scott, Michael McDowell, Ty Dillon, Trevor Bayne and Landon Cassill.

Eleventh through 20th were Dylan Kwasniewski, Brendan Gaughan, Chris Buescher, Chase Pistone, Austin Theriault, Ryan Reed, Ryan Sieg, J.J. Yeley, James Buescher and Ryan Gifford.

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

Latest Posts
  1. WATCH: Race of Champions at 7 p.m. ET kicks off motors evening on NBCSN

    Dec 18, 2014, 6:00 PM EST

    ROA_Twitter_Promo

    RoC, Mecum, and two F1 “Road To:” specials make for motors block on NBCSN tonight starting at 7 p.m. ET.

  2. IndyCar champ Will Power has hidden talent — breakdancing

    Dec 18, 2014, 4:15 PM EST

    penske file power montoya 2014

    Will Power is a closet breakdancer? Who knew? Find out in the latest edition of The Penske Files.

  3. Sauber’s new C34 chassis has passed crash test

    Dec 18, 2014, 4:00 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Brazil Getty Images

    Sauber’s 2015 car is the second to pass crash test.

  4. Ganassi’s IndyCar, NASCAR stars set for another Rolex 24

    Dec 18, 2014, 3:28 PM EST

    PruettCOTAWin Getty Images

    No Franchitti in 2015 as CGR announces Rolex 24 lineup.

  5. Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud will head to Super Bowl with Verizon

    Dec 18, 2014, 2:30 PM EST

    Pagenaud AP

    Penske’s newest star to head to NFL’s biggest game.

  6. Top NASCAR stories of 2014: No. 13 – Chase Elliott wins final Nationwide Series championship at record age

    Dec 18, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

    (Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Getty Images

    In less than one year, Chase Elliott went from the driver of a start-up team to the youngest champion in NASCAR history.

  7. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 16 Aric Almirola

    Dec 18, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Oral-B USA 500 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Almirola broke into the Chase for the Sprint Cup with a rain-shortened win at Daytona in the summer.

  8. F1: Hamilton, Alonso engineers on the move

    Dec 18, 2014, 12:45 PM EST

    Alonso and Hamilton were teammates at McLaren back in 2007 (© Getty Images) Getty Images

    The engineer market is busy in F1, as well.

  9. NASCAR: Top drivers of 2014 – No. 15 Kasey Kahne

    Dec 18, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    (Ethan Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Kasey Kahne struggled at times in 2014, but there’s great promise for 2015 with a new contract, new crew chief and an extension from his primary sponsor.

  10. CVC adds di Montezemolo, Walsh to Board of Directors for F1; Bernie stays on

    Dec 18, 2014, 11:46 AM EST

    MontezemoloBoard AP

    Di Montezemolo and Walsh now part of F1’s controlling shareholder Board of Directors.

  11. Menards stays on as NASCAR XFINITY sponsor for RCR

    Dec 18, 2014, 11:11 AM EST

    MenardsNXS Getty Images

    Menards stays with RCR’s XFINITY program.

  12. Flying Lizards head to PWC with McLaren

    Dec 18, 2014, 9:56 AM EST

    Photo: McLaren Photo: McLaren

    New cars, series for sports car stalwart team.

  13. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Southern Modified Tour release expanded 2015 schedules

    Dec 17, 2014, 8:47 PM EST

    nbc whelen modified tour logo

    NASCAR revealed the 2015 schedules for the Whelen Modified Tour and its Southwest Modified Tour, including a first-time visit at the legendary Hickory (NC) Motor Speedway.

  14. Blast from the past: British video shows what NHRA was like back in 1990

    Dec 17, 2014, 7:23 PM EST

    (AP Photo/NHRA) AP

    Do you like watching old racing videos and programs from the past? If so, you’re going to love this BBC video about NHRA drag racing from back in 1990.

  15. NASCAR America: Kurt Busch testifies in protection order hearing (video)

    Dec 17, 2014, 6:38 PM EST

    (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File) AP

    Kurt Busch got the chance to tell his side in the legal battle with former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. We break down what Kurt said in court on NASCAR America.

  16. Kurt Busch calls ex-girlfriend’s allegations a ‘fabrication’

    Dec 17, 2014, 5:16 PM EST

    Kurt Busch and Patricia Driscoll in happier times at the 2013 NASCAR Awards Banquet in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison, File) AP

    Kurt Busch testified Wednesday he asked former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll numerous times to leave his motorcoach on the night she claims the NASCAR driver struck her head several times.

  17. Daytona Rising begins race to finish line of Phase 1

    Dec 17, 2014, 3:03 PM EST

    daytona rising logo

    The race to the finish line of Phase 1 of Daytona Rising at Daytona International Speedway kicked into high gear Wednesday, with a record 1,002 construction workers on-site.

  18. Insight: Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup’s presence in F1, and America

    Dec 17, 2014, 3:00 PM EST

    Photo: Porsche Photo: Porsche

    Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup’s status grew in 2014. We caught up with the series manager during Austin F1 weekend.

Video from NASCAR America

NASCAR America's 2014 blooper reel
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. D. Suarez (2008)
  2. M. Tifft (1961)
  3. K. Busch (1879)
  4. J. Boston (1868)
  5. A. Self (1813)
  1. C. Coughlin (1447)
  2. S. Heckert (1263)
  3. K. Larson (1257)
  4. K. Busch (1189)
  5. D. Kwasniewski (1185)