In just the third race of the season, Sam Hornish Jr. has proven that he still has the magic that made him the most dominant racer in the IZOD Indycar Series during the early 2000s. Saturday, Hornish cemented himself as a driver to watch when talking about NASCAR Nationwide Series title contenders.
Hornish Jr. had the dominant car all day at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, in a race that despite having long green flag runs, came down to a seven lap dash to the checkered flag. Whether it was the short or long run, Hornish proved today that the success he had found at Daytona and Phoenix was not a fluke.
Veteran crew chief Greg Irwin has proven to be a great leader for the 12 team, ushering in stability on top of the pit box that last year’s crew chief Chad Walters just could not bring. In the seasons inaugural race at Daytona, Hornish lost the draft, but was close enough to miss the start/finish line wreck and finish second.
Last week at Phoenix, Hornish had an incredible come from behind race, after being involved in two wrecks early. Hornish ended up finishing seventh, and although this is the Nationwide Series where the level of competition is questionable, it is obvious this is a different Sam Hornish Jr. that we saw become mediocre at the Sprint Cup level.
In top tier equipment and surrounded by winners, Hornish led 114 of the 300 laps today en route to his second career victory in The Nationwide Series. Hornish simply had the car to outdrive Kyle Busch towards the end. Hornish also increased his points lead to 19 points over Justin Allgaier, Elliot Sadler, and Brian Scott, who also had a very nice run at this tough track.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had an uneventful race after starting in the 32nd position, finishing in the top-15 along with Travis Pastrana who had a good run considering he was seen visibly fighting the car around the bumpy Las Vegas track all day.
The largest incident of the day once again involved Kyle Larson who has now totaled two Turner-Scott Motorsports cars in his first three weeks in the series. Larson was also involved in a lap 87 wreck with Trevor Bayne when Bayne’s car got loose on the bumps of the bottom line and he collided with Larson. Larson suffered the most damage while Bayne went on to finish in the top five.
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