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Sam Hornish Jr. still without full-time NASCAR Cup ride

September 05, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • Sam Hornish Jr. climbing into his race car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 400 on Aug. 3.
Sam Hornish Jr. climbing into his race car during practice for the NASCAR… (Mel Evans / Associated Press )

As the musical chairs continue among NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers for 2013, Sam Hornish Jr. still finds himself without a full-time seat.

Hornish, the former IndyCar champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, has been driving Penske Racing's No. 22 Cup car since early July in place of A.J. Allmendinger, who failed a drug test and later was released from the team.

There was speculation that Hornish might stay in the car again next year. But Penske announced Tuesday that Joey Logano, who is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing, will take over the No. 22 car next season and join Penske's other Cup driver, Brad Keselowski.

Asked about Hornish's future, Penske Racing President Tim Cindric said Wednesday that the team was exploring the possibility of adding a Cup car for Hornish to drive next season.

"That would certainly be our first preference, a third full-time Cup car," Cindric said on a conference call with reporters, but "the potential we had for that in terms of sponsorship, they haven't come to fruition yet."

As a result, Cindric said he expected Hornish to keep driving for Penske in NASCAR's second-level Nationwide Series next year "and hopefully [in] some Cup races as well."

Hornish, 33, did spend three winless seasons as a Cup driver in 2008-10 for Penske, but a lack of sponsorship for his car then prompted Penske to revert back to a two-car team.

Since taking over Penske's No. 22 Cup car this year, Hornish has one top-10 finish -- a fifth on the road course at Watkins Glen, N.Y. Hornish also has one Nationwide Series win in his NASCAR career, at Phoenix last fall.

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