Wednesday, August 12, 2009

SYMT --- Sam Hornish Jr

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah...We all know Sam is the one of the most successful drivers in recent history in open-wheel racing...

* Sam was the youngest driver ever to win an IndyCar Series race (age 21) at the time. (Thanks Tez!)
* Sam became the youngest driver to win the IndyCar Series crown at just 22 years old.
* Sam is the only driver to win back-to-back IndyCar Series championships.
* In 2006, Sam won the Indianapolis 500 for Penske in dramatic fashion passing Marco Andretti on the last lap and then went on to win the IndyCar Series championship for a third time.

So by 2007, Sam was pretty much in a "been there done that" state of mind with open wheel racing when he decided to try his hand at stock cars.

In November 2007, Sam was announced as the driver of the Penske No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge and I was lucky enough to interview him. Some of you may have seen snippets of this video on Foxsports but this is the un-edited version.

Notice anything about Sam in the interview? I dunno...relaxed, funny, not giving the party line answers...kinda refreshing?

Ok, ok, so he didn't win Rookie of the Year in his first full season in NASCAR but I will contend he had to deal with sub par equipment at Penske last year (evidence - Kurt) and none-the-less managed to finish with several top 15's and raced his way into the All Star Race. He didn't meet his goal of finishing in the top 20 but he did keep his job. Yes, yes, he did kiss with the wall a lot but hey, he was learning!

That brings us to 2009. Sam started off the season strong contending for top 10s in the first six races only to fall victim to wrecks not of his own making. He finally got his first top 10 in NASCAR in April at Phoenix and followed that up with a sixth-place finish at Richmond. Sam got his first NASCAR victory winning the Sprint Showdown and he finally cracked the top 5 with his fourth-place finish at Pocono a few weeks ago. And then, well, there was this past week where he got his bell rung big time...

So why do I like Sam Hornish, Jr so much? Let's get the obvious out of the way --
* Cute, Cute, CUTE!
* Fellow Ohioan
* Is buds with Helio
* Has a whipper-snapper 28 year old crew chief (Travis Geisler) so they are the true Young Guns of Team Penske and I like watching the youngin's compete.

But mostly I root for Sam because he is a proven champion, who didn't rest on his laurels and went out and learned a completely different sport enduring struggles, wrecks, and very hard hits. "Quit" is not in Sam's vocabulary and he will keep at it until he is a champion again. I find that very admirable.

Oh, did I mention how cute he is??


  1. Very good blog on Hornish. I am really impressed with how he is improving in the Cup series. He was one of the few that I did follow in the Indy Series. I am glad to see that he is finally starting to have some success in Cup.

  2. Thanks TSfan. He is definitely improving, esp at Pocono and the flat tracks. Probably no win this year but I bet next year he'll be in the hunt.

  3. actually, I think Marco Andretti is the youngest winner of a Indycar race, Kristen....I shall check that but I'm pretty sure he is, lol

  4. righto, Marco won a race when he was 19....can't find a list of the youngest winners but that blows Sam's 21 clean out of the water, lol

  5. Very nice and I enjoyed seeing your full interview with him.

    Good luck to him!

  6. Thanks Tez...was going off old info apparently! Fixed it in the blog.

    Hey Lori, thanks...he and Newman were my fav interviews. Sam is pretty funny.

  7. Great story, vid, and info on Sudden Sam.

    I'm telling Junyer.

    Graham Rahal is the youngest IRL winner, and youngest pole winner too!

  8. Ok ok! I clearly know nothing about IRL stats! LOL

    Tell Juuuunnnnioooooorrrr all you want, I hear he is stepping up his relationship with Vicky so I gotta bark up another tree...unless she steals Sam from me first!

  9. ahh, ta for that, Gene....I thought Graham's win was in Champ Car so I didn't even bother checking it, lol

    and you're welcome, Kristen, we're all here to help each other.....when we're not ranting about drivers/race/weather/tyres/anything else of course ;)

  10. Sam I am,, funny I have a 22 year old sam in my lap. I will say he took more then one big hit on Monday. WOW and seeing the fuel cell go flying was wild. It reminded me of when Ryan Newman went for some rolls and car came apart.

    He would be in some pain if it was the older model car thats for sure. Thank god for the brick to keep them all safe.

    Great job hosting. Hope you get a win and everyone else as well. Cheers2You

  11. Tez sometimes ranting is helpful!

    F2 - Happy to host! Yes that wreck was horrible - word on the street is he is just sore and was in the shop thanking the guys who weld the chassis etc for doing such a great job.




  13. Great job Kristen. Sam is one of my favorites. I didn't see the wreck at the Glen, but it sounded bad. Glad everyone was ok, although I hear Jeffy's back is stiff. He's had a bad back, and I'm sure T-Boning Sam didn't help. I'll watch the interview tonight on my laptop. For some silly reason, the computers at work won't allow vids!

  14. Thanks GUNNY! Now no crying in your coffee this week ok! LOL

    Hey CR - Wreck was bad, plenty o' vids of it on YouTube. I hate to see Gordon caught up in those wrecks, every one pushes him closer to retirement and that will be a sad day for NASCAR indeed. Good to have a fellow Sam Fan around! (I am sure you like him cuz he is cute right?!?!)

  15. So....does that mean that he has now replaced Dale Jr. as your favorite?

    "Doctor heal thyself"

  16. Cute? LOL... Nah, he just seems like a nice guy! Besides I like the open wheel guys who have the kahoonas to try and make it in NASCAR.

  17. Nah moseby...just like I told LisaH - its like potato chips - why pick just one! I dont like to limit myself. =)

    I was just kidding CR - he is a nice guy just like you!