Sam Hornish Jr. is attempting to get back to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and is doing a pretty good job in the meantime.
Hornish Jr. is currently second in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings after 20 races with a win and 15 top-10 finishes. For the second straight year, Hornish Jr. will start on pole for the Zippo 200 at the Glen. Hornish Jr. won the pole with a track record lap time 0f 71.538 seconds, setting a blistering pace for back-t0-back road course races with the inaugural Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course event coming next week.
Hornish has been on pole twice now this year and is looking to break into victory lane for the first time since Las Vegas. He’s been extremely hot as of late and has the momentum heading into the weekend.
Starting on the outside of Hornish will be Kyle Busch, who took the week off last weekend at Iowa as he was in Pocono for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Busch was approximately three-tenths of a second off of Hornish’s time, which just shows how strong of a car Hornish has.
Joey Logano will start third in the Penske Racing No. 48 Ford Mustang. Originally, the team was going to have Brad Keselowski in the No. 22 car only, but they decided to place Logano in a third car as they’ll have all three cars starting in the top-five.
The second-highest NASCAR Nationwide Series regular was Regan Smith. Smith is looking at the possibility of replacing Tony Stewart until he is fully healed, and there would be nothing better for the Chevrolet driver than to get a solid finish at Watkins Glen after struggling since his win at Michigan.
Justin Allgaier, who just had a baby girl this week, will start sixth and is looking for his first win of the year. Allgaier has been running slightly inconsistently as on late, but should feel right at home with the road course event this weekend.
All of the cars qualified for the race as there were only 40 cars entered. Nelson Piquet Jr. was the highest-qualifying rookie in the No. 30 Turner-Scott Motorsports Chevrolet, and is looking to turn his momentum around after struggling in his rookie year.
Last weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner at Pocono, Kasey Kahne, will surprisingly start 13th at Watkins Glen on Saturday afternoon. Kahne has won at the road course in Sonoma, which makes his struggle in qualifying shocking.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.