Former IndyCar Series Champion, Sam Hornish, Jr. can now call himself a NASCAR Nationwide Series winner. Hornish led the Team Penske sweep during Saturday’s Wypall 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series raec, the first event on the newly configured one-mile Phoenix International Raceway.
Hornish drove his No. 12 Penske Dodge to the first Nationwide Series victory of his career with his teammate Brad Keselowski finishing second. He joins Stenhouse Jr and Trevor Bayne on the first-time winner list of 2011.
“We had a good car all day and we just tried to take our time,” Hornish said. “(Crew chief) Chad Walter made a great call with two tires and 70 to go. It feels so great to be racing Brad, Carl at the end for the win! We’ve been on and off all year.”
Hornish, Jr is looking to return for the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season with Penske Racing, since trying to come into NASCAR with Penske in the Sprint Cup Series.
“Every 10 years I get to come to victory lane for the first time in a different car,” he said. “It brings back a lot of memories to the Pennzoil car. It really means a lot to us. I sure hope it doesn’t hurt at all! Alliance (Truck Parts) is working hard to get us where we need to be. It’s been a tough couple years waiting to get a checkered flag. As excited as I am for this, I can’t wait to see my girls tomorrow.”
The race got off to a wild start with an eight car crash that involved Danica Patrick in Turn 3 on the first lap.
Current NASCAR Nationwide Series Points Leader, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. virtually locked up his first championship after Elliott Sadler was crashed out of the race by Jason Leffler that led an 11 minute, 27 second red flag delay.
With 25 laps to go, Sadler made a pass to the inside of Jason Leffler and Aric Almirola by cutting across the paved apron at turn 2. That slowed his momentum as he moved back onto the racing line, and while he slowed to give Leffler enough room, Leffler hit him in the back and knocked him out of the race. Almirola and Morgan Shepherd, the 70-year-old having his best run of the season running 17th, were also involved as the race was red flagged.
“The 38 (Leffler) ran me right in the back,” Sadler said. “There’s not much respect for guys; he hit square in the rear. He’s not running for anything. I cleared him and gave him extra room to try not to crowd him. Everybody’s going below the apron, as it gives guys more room. I thought I was doing the right thing to get away and not crowd them up. I had the line and got run in the back. It’s very frustrating, as you work all season long, and it goes away in a split second.”
This was the second time in eight days that a Kevin Harvick, Inc. driver faced title elimination after being wrecked, however this was completely different from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Leffler later apologized for the mistake in his interview with Jamie Little of ESPN.
Next week is the final race of the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. The boys will take to the 1.5 mile Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Ford 300. Barring any issues, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will win the championship.
Unofficial Race Results:
|1||5||12||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||Alliance Truck Parts||47/4||200||Running|
|2||10||22||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Discount Tire||0||200||Running|
|3||2||60||Carl Edwards||Ford||World Financial Group||0||200||Running|
|5||11||6||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||Ford. Drive one.||41/2||200||Running|
|6||3||16||Trevor Bayne||Ford||Air Hogs||38/0||200||Running|
|7||4||33||Clint Bowyer||Chevrolet||Rheem Heating, Cooling & Water Heating||0||200||Running|
|8||8||20||Ryan Truex *||Toyota||Martin Truex Jr. Foundation||36/0||200||Running|
|9||7||31||Justin Allgaier||Chevrolet||Brandt / Monterey AgResources||35/0||200||Running|
|10||19||62||Michael Annett||Toyota||Oakley / Pilot Flying J||34/0||200||Running|
|11||20||70||David Stremme||Chevrolet||Foretravel Motorcoach||0||200||Running|
|12||14||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves||32/0||200||Running|
|13||42||32||Ron Hornaday||Chevrolet||Dollar General||0||200||Running|
|14||13||81||Blake Koch *||Dodge||Daystar.com||30/0||200||Running|
|15||27||134||Ricky Carmichael||Chevrolet||Monster Energy||0||200||Running|
|16||36||01||Mike Wallace||Chevrolet||I Hate Steven Singer||28/0||199||Running|
|18||35||15||Timmy Hill *||Ford||Poynt / Lilly Trucking of Virginia||26/0||197||Running|
|19||38||14||Eric McClure||Chevrolet||Hefty BlackOut / Reynolds||25/0||197||Running|
|20||37||52||Kevin Lepage||Chevrolet||Tilted Kilt Sports Bar||24/0||197||Running|
|22||30||23||Robert Richardson Jr.||Chevrolet||North Texas Pipe||22/0||195||Running|
|23||40||40||T.J. Duke||Chevrolet||Curtis Key Plumbing||21/0||191||Running|
|24||39||51||Jeremy Clements||Chevrolet||Phoenix Automotive Cores||20/0||176||Accident|
|25||1||88||Aric Almirola||Chevrolet||Suave Men||20/1||174||Accident|
|26||18||38||Jason Leffler||Chevrolet||Great Clips||18/0||174||Accident|
|27||6||2||Elliott Sadler||Chevrolet||OneMain Financial||17/0||174||Accident|
|28||21||89||Morgan Shepherd||Chevrolet||Victory In Jesus||16/0||174||Accident|
|29||22||66||Steve Wallace||Toyota||5-Hour Energy||15/0||174||Running|
|30||15||30||James Buescher||Chevrolet||Exide Batteries||0||142||Accident|
|31||17||19||Mike Bliss||Chevrolet||Millennium Salon / Spa Software & Element Payment Services||13/0||129||Accident|
|33||34||180||D.J. Kennington||Dodge||Northern Provincial Pipelines||11/0||82||Accident|
|34||28||44||Jeff Green||Chevrolet||TriStar Motorsports||10/0||38||Rear Gear|
|35||23||182||Reed Sorenson||Dodge||Foametix / Bullet Liner||9/0||34||Accident|
|36||26||49||Mark Green||Chevrolet||Acredale Vending||8/0||15||Brakes|
|37||16||147||Scott Speed||Chevrolet||Curtis Key Plumbing||7/0||6||Brakes|
|38||43||146||Chase Miller||Chevrolet||Curtis Key Plumbing||6/0||6||Rear Gear|
|39||29||171||Matthew Carter||Chevrolet||Rick Ware Racing||5/0||2||Vibration|
|40||33||141||Johnny Chapman||Chevrolet||Rick Ware Racing||4/0||1||Accident|
|41||24||11||Brian Scott||Toyota||Shore Lodge||3/0||0||Accident|
|42||32||39||Matt Frahm||Ford||TSP Powder Coating||2/0||0||Accident|
|43||31||104||Tim Andrews||Ford||Go Green Racing||1/0||0||Accident|