“Dreams are made of cars like this,” Hornish said in victory lane.
The win also handed Hornish sole possession of the Nationwide Series points lead. He headed into the race in a tie with Justin Allgaier atop the standings. Allgaier finished the race 15th.
Kyle Busch was second, Brian Vickers finished third, Trevor Bayne fourth, and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top-five.
“We’re definitely getting better,” Sadler said of getting used to his new Joe Gibbs Racing team and crew chief Chris Carrier.
With the starting grid for the race set by 2012 owner’s points when rain modified the weekend’s schedule, Vickers started from the pole. He led most of the early laps of the race before losing the top spot to Brad Keselowski on lap 24.
“The guys did a good job,” Vickers said. “We started out too tight.”
Keselowski continued to lead until a competition caution on lap 35, giving up the first two positions to Trevor Bayne and Regan Smith who got off pit road first and second by taking only two tires.
Bayne pitted again during the next caution that came out just before lap 60 while others stayed out, causing him to get shuffled back to 15th for the restart. Right after the race returned to green, Hornish raced from third to the lead, and that was when his dominance up front began.
When the yellow flag waved again on lap 81, Bayne moved back to the front with the pit stratecy of taking fuel only. Kyle Larson used the same strategy to get off pit road in the second spot. But right after the following restart, the two drivers made significant contact while racing for the lead, allowing Vickers and Austin Dillon to move into the top-two spots and bringing out another caution.
A few laps after the race went back to green, Hornish moved back into the lead and began pulling away from the rest of the field. Everyone was bunched back up by another yellow flag for debris on lap 139, and Busch got off pit road first to assume the lead. Hornish restarted third after spending a little extra time on pit road, making sure he got as much fuel as possible.
Busch and Vickers then spend several laps battling for the lead unktil Hornish got by Vickers for the second spot with 49 laps to go. A couple of laps later he got by Busch for the lead.
Hornish stayed up front the rest of the way, holding Busch off on a couple of additional restarts to claim the win and keep Busch shut out of Nationwide Series victory lane at his home track.
“Had a really good race car,” Hornish said. “The guys at Penske Racing gave me a great race car. It was great on restarts.”
Finishing sixth through 10th were Dillon, Regan Smith, Alex Bowman, Brian Scott and Travis Pastrana.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR