Sam Hornish Jr. claimed his third career Nationwide Series victory in 101 starts at Iowa Speedway. The turning point came on a restart with 21 laps to go when Hornish pulled ahead of Ryan Blaney to take the lead.
Blaney, who won the pole, and Sam Hornish Jr. who started on the outside pole, had the two fastest cars heading into the Get to Know Newton 250 at Iowa. But in the end, Blaney was no match for Hornish Jr. who led 167 of 250 laps.
Hornish, driving the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota on a part-time schedule was elated with the result.
“I’m so blessed and thankful that this opportunity came around,” he said. “I was really hoping and praying that I got something good to get into. It’s pretty darn awesome.” Hornish continued saying, I thank God that I got a great opportunity and I got really good people around me and really good people in my life.”
Hornish will run five more races for JGR this season and in the meantime is taking advantage of his part-time schedule to spend quality time with his wife Crystal and their children.
“She wanted two kids, I wanted more than that and we’re at three now,” Hornish said. “So I’ve got to be there to help out. I look at it as, each time I get in the race car is a blessing, but on the same hand, each day I get to be at home and do things with them — I think yesterday, my three-year-old cut a big hole in her mom’s shirt, so I was glad I wasn’t at home. But on the same thing, I know that those are moments that you don’t get back.”
Blaney gave Hornish a run for his money, leading 80 laps in his Team Penske Ford, but his car was strongest on long runs and Blaney simply ran out of time.
“I felt like if we had maybe 15 more laps I might have been able to get to him, but it would be tough to get around him,” he explained. “But like I said, we just needed to have a little more short-run speed and we might have had something.”
Regan Smith finished third followed by Chase Elliott in fourth and Elliott Sadler in fifth place. Chase Elliott retains the series points lead by two points over Elliott Sadler and Regan Smith.
The next stop for the Nationwide Series is May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the History 300 race.