A familiar face will be seen in the Team Penske shop this summer. The team announced Thursday morning (June 15) that it has signed former driver Sam Hornish Jr. to a three-race deal in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
The Defiance, Ohio, native is slated to drive the No. 22 Ford Mustang at both of the NXS Iowa Speedway races (on June 24 and July 29) and the race at his home track of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 12.
Hornish has won two of his past four races at Iowa.
The former full-time NASCAR racer competed for Penske from 2004 to 2013, starting in the Verizon Indycar Series before making the jump to NXS and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The three-time Indycar champion won one of his titles with Penske, as well as an Indianapolis 500. Two of his four NXS wins came behind the wheel of a Penske car.
“I’m really excited to return to Team Penske and get the opportunity to drive the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang in a few races this season,” Hornish said in a press release. “Team Penske continues to be one of the top teams in the XFINITY Series and I’m looking forward to once again working with them. Roger (Penske) and Team Penske have been a huge part of my racing career, so coming back here feels like home. I’m also really appreciative of everyone at Discount Tire for allowing me to take the reins of one of the most recognizable cars in the garage area.”
The open wheel legend spent last season competing in NXS on a part time basis for Richard Childress Racing and as a substitute at Joe Gibbs Racing, where he won while filling in for Matt Tifft. His last full-time season was in 2015, when he drove the No. 9 of Richard Petty Motorsports to a career-high 26th place points finish in MENCS.
“The new NASCAR eligibility rules also allow for drivers like me to compete in more races, so I hope to take full advantage of this opportunity,” Hornish said.
Penske’s No. 22 is primarily split between Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney. NASCAR made changes in the offseason that limit Cup veterans to 10 races in NXS, which affects Keselowski and Logano. The team said that may provide an opportunity for Hornish to compete in more races.