Sam Hornish Jr. Looking for Redemption in Return to Sprint Cup

After running a partial XFINITY Series schedule, Sam Hornish Jr. believed that he was ready to make the transition to the Sprint Cup Series. However, that was far from the truth. In running the full schedule in 2009 and 2010, Hornish only produced two top-fives and eight top-10s, with finishes of 28th and 29th in points.

So rather than totally give up, he took a step back, returning to the XFINITY Series. After a couple full seasons and partial schedules, Hornish will make his return back to the Sprint Cup Series, driving for Richard Petty Motorsports.

“This is a great opportunity to join Richard Petty Motorsports and the No. 9 Ford team in the Sprint Cup Series,” Hornish expressed at the time of the announcement. “Owners Richard Petty, Andrew Murstein and Doug Bergeron have built this organization into a championship-contending team with world-class sponsors and partners. Many people have noticed to the progress being made here and I’m ready to build off this momentum. My goal is to put the No. 9 team in victory lane in 2015 and be a competitor in ‘The Chase’.”

While he was unprepared the last time, it is expected that he will perform better as he has continued to improve in the XFINITY Series over the past four seasons.

Running the full schedule in 2013, Hornish finished second in points with a win, 16 top-fives and 25 top-10s with Team Penske. However, due to lack of sponsorship, Roger Penske was forced to let him go.

For 2014, he had the choice whether to run a full schedule for an unfunded team, or run a partial schedule for Joe GIbbs Racing. The Ohio native chose the full schedule, commenting that it was better to be a competitive car partially due to being able to show what he could do as a driver. He was able to do just that, scoring a win and four top-fives in eight races. That success caught the attention of Richard Petty and team.

“Sam is a really good fit for RPM and will be a great addition to the team,” Petty commented. “He’s a family man who fits well with our core values and he will be a great ambassador for our partners. Sam’s also proven that he can win races and compete for a championship. He came into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with a steep learning curve from open wheel racing, but has shown in the Nationwide Series that he is a winner. We feel that he can get the No. 9 team to Victory Lane and compete in ‘The Chase’ for us.”

It seems as though the pieces of the puzzle are there. RPM seems to have their team in order with getting Aric Almirola into the Chase and posting some solid top-10 performances. With another solid driver behind the wheel of their second car now, perhaps they can continue to build on that success and parlay it into a multi-win season in 2015.

Whether the growth period and success in XFINITY will prove into Sprint Cup Series success is yet to be seen, there’s one thing known for certain – Hornish is the type of driver that will not give up.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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