Sam Hornish Jr. Finally Gets a Victory At Iowa Speedway
May 18, 2014
Popular Veteran Collects First NASCAR Nationwide Series Win With Joe Gibbs Racing
NEWTON, Iowa (May 18, 2014) – In only his second race for Joe Gibbs Racing while participating in a time-share with Kyle Busch in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota, Sam Hornish Jr. finally solved Iowa Speedway’s 7/8-mile oval and won Sunday’s Get to Know Newton 250 presented by Sherwin-Williams NASCAR Nationwide Series race in front of an enthusiastic crowd on a beautiful sun-soaked day. Ryan Blaney was second, followed by Regan Smith, series points leader Chase Elliott and Elliott Sadler, who lurks only two points behind Elliott in the standings.
Hornish had finished second, fourth and third in his last three races at Iowa Speedway before finally breaking through to win the feature race of the track’s much-anticipated “Wide-Opening Weekend.”
Blaney had earned his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series pole Saturday driving the No. 22 Team Penske Ford – ironically Hornish’s old team. Blaney, like Hornish, also is running a limited schedule in the Nationwide Series this season. So it was fitting that the youngster Blaney (80) and veteran Hornish (167) combined to lead 247 of 250 laps at Iowa Speedway.
That back-and-forth duel between the two was basically decided when Hornish passed Blaney for good on Lap 229 to win his third career NASCAR Nationwide Series race in 101 starts.
"I'm so blessed and thankful that this opportunity came around," Hornish said. "I was really hoping and praying that I got something good to get into. It's pretty darn awesome. I thank God that I got a great opportunity and really good people around me and really good people in my life."
Hornish was much better than Blaney on short green-flag runs. Conversely, Blaney was significantly faster on longer green-flag runs.
"He was definitely better than us on new tires for about 30 laps," Blaney said of Hornish. "And then he'd start coming back to us. But I was way too tight short-run to go. Just couldn't stay with him there on that restart. Couldn’t really get to him. Kind of ran out of laps."
Blaney had pulled “double duty” the weekend and finished 22nd in Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Charlotte before coming to central Iowa for Sunday’s event.
Elliott managed to hold on to his slim lead over Sadler despite a hectic weekend. He practiced at Iowa Speedway Friday before flying home to Georgia to graduate from high school on Saturday morning, and then returned to Newton in time for qualifying later that afternoon.
Next up for the “Fastest Short Track on the Planet” is the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the IndyCar Series combination weekend July 11-12. For tickets, call 1-866-RUSTY-GO or visit www.iowaspeedway.com.
About Iowa Speedway
Iowa Speedway, “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet,” is a state-of-the-art 7/8 mile asphalt paved tri-oval race track and motorsports facility located in Newton, Iowa. Our 2014 schedule includes three exciting race weekends: May 17-18 (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West and NASCAR Nationwide Series), July 11-12 (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and IndyCar Series) and Aug. 1-2 (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West and NASCAR Nationwide Series). Great seats are still available. For tickets, call 1-866-RUSTY-GO. To learn more, visit www.iowaspeedway.com, “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @IowaSpeedway.