SRT Motorsports — Dodge Sam Hornish Jr. Open Interview – Texas Motor Speedway

[media-credit name=”texasmotorspeedway.com” align=”alignright” width=”199″][/media-credit]Thursday, April 12, 2012

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Texas Motor Speedway


American Muscle

Dodge PR

Sam Hornish Jr. Open Interview

Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 12 Würth Dodge Challenger R/T) AFTER A COUPLE OF WEEKS OFF, YOU MUST BE CHOMPING AT THE BIT TO GET BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL THIS WEEKEND?  “I’ve really been chomping at the bit.  We had a weekend at California that I’d like to forget about. We had a day where we passed a whole bunch of cars, decided to take two tires for the last stop to get us some track position and ended up shooting ourselves in the foot.  We went from restarting fourth to 13th; not the kind of day we wanted considering we’d been in the top-10 all day.  We’re going to rebound from that and have a strong weekend here at Texas.  This has always been a place that I liked coming to; the fans, the track staff, everyone’s been really good to me.  I’ve had a lot of success in Indy cars here.  This is kind of the meat and potatoes of the NASCAR schedule, the mile-and-a-halfs.  We’re excited to get back here and see if the changes that we’ve come up with over the off-weeks help us out and get us back to where we want to be.  We’re fifth in points right now and we’d like to be quite a bit higher than that.  We’ve got a whole bunch of races to go this season.  So we’re just trying to kick it off like it’s a new year, try to work our way a little bit out of a hole and get ourselves back up there to run for the point’s championship.”

WHAT DID THE TEAM FOCUS ON DURING THE TWO-WEEK BREAK?  “We did a little bit of testing.  I went and did some Cup testing for the guys for the Martinsville race which gave me the opportunity to get back in those cars for a while, doing some of the EFI and fuel management stuff for them.  We also worked on trying to get a little bit closer to our teammate in the Nationwide Series.  We feel like the 22 has a pretty good playbook.  We started off this year trying to do some things a little bit different; had some ideas through testing. Testing is one thing.  If you want to go there and try to go there and move forward, that’s one thing, but if those ideas are far enough away that you can’t make the proper amount of changes that you need to be able to get back there, with the shortened schedule that we have on the Nationwide Series where we only really have one set of tires for practice, that’s too much because you can’t make those changes to get back.  I feel like we’re a lot closer.  Just getting the whole team together, whether it’s the 12 or 22 or the 12 and 22 combined that we all work together and try to give ourselves the opportunity we need to be competitive, compete for race wins and to work together as a two-car team instead of two single-car teams.  That’s what I’ve been trying to focus on and trying to get us to go down that road.  It’s a big weekend for me to see how we do as far as when we start going down that road together.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT NEXT WEEK’S CUP RACE THAT YOU’LL BE RACING IN AT KANSAS? “SKF is a big sponsor for Penske Racing, a new sponsor this season.  Not only are they sponsoring our Cup cars and Nationwide cars, they’re on the Indy cars as well.  They’ve got a great sponsorship opportunity with Penske Racing and we do with them as well.  Part of their deal is that they wanted to do a couple of Cup races.  We get the great opportunity on our off-weekend for the Nationwide Series to go and get a little bit of Cup experience and now going to a place like Kansas and Talladega.  We’ve known about this for little while, but unfortunately haven’t been able to say anything about it.  I’m really excited about the opportunity to go back out there.  Obviously, we have to qualify into the race, so our big thing is our two practices on Friday and qualify for the race.  Then we just need to go out there and have some fun and see what kind of finish that we can have.  The only ramification for us is that we make it into the race.”

HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO PINPOINT WHY YOU HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO TRANSFER YOUR INDYCAR SUCCESS OVER TO NASCAR?  “That’s about as tough a question as anyone could ask.  Some of the places that I really didn’t like in the IndyCar Series, I really like over here.  Other places like Phoenix, where I was good at in the IndyCar Series, Texas is one of the places where I’ve had some strong runs.  I won three races out of 14 that I ran here.  I’ve had cars that are fast here and just didn’t have the right opportunity.  One of the races we got wrecked on Lap 2, got hit from behind.  I don’t know.  That’s a tough thing to pinpoint, why you have those issues.  I’m really excited to turn those things around.  We had a couple good races here (Texas) last year.  We had two bad pit stops the first race that kept us from being in contention for the win.  We had a set of tires, for whatever reason, we couldn’t go.  We got ourselves up to third in the race, felt like we had an opportunity to win and all of a sudden we went back to 13th.  As soon as we changed the tires on it, we went back and got up to seventh.  I feel like each weekend is a new weekend and it gives us a new opportunity.  I’m just really excited to be out here for the first weekend with Würth on the car because they’re a big part for us to go full-time this year.  We also have a new sponsor with Jani-King, so we feel like we’re one of the best funded Nationwide teams with what we’ve been able to do.  Now it’s time to get the results that we feel like we should be getting.  Do the right things, put ourselves in position to win races and try to move on to the next level.”

WHAT’S IT BEEN LIKE TO BE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CAMERA WORKING WITH SPEED?  “It’s a little bit strange for sure doing my SPEED Center gig, but it’s a lot of fun.  It allows me to get on the job training. Plus, I feel like I focus on what’s going on in the racing world, just not on the NASCAR side, but Formula 1, Touring cars, Sports Car racing.  I’m on the other side of the camera, but I still get asked more questions than I get to ask.  And the questions that I get to ask, I already knew the answer to.  I’m probably like you guys (media) are sometimes, just throwing the ball up there and see if you’re going to swing at it.  That’s a little bit different.  It’s been a lot of fun.  They keep asking me to come back some more, so guess that I must be doing OK.”

CAN YOU OUTLINE HOW TOUGH THE NATIONWIDE SERIES IS?  “At times, I’ve looked at it like there’s a lot of competition.  This year Carl Edward’s isn’t doing it, but most years you have Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards, and then there’s some talent that you look at the races, Ricky Stenhouse has run in the Cup Series.  I think that he finished eighth his first time out in the Wood Brothers car and Trevor (Bayne) has won a race.  There’s definitely some good competition over there.  I’d say that on a given weekend, there are 20 guys that can win a Cup race and you wouldn’t say that they pulled one out.  There are probably 10 guys on the Nationwide side.  It’s not as competitive if you look at it from that point of view, that there’s only really half the amount of guys that are capable of winning each weekend.  But if you look at the five Cup guys that you generally run against, they’re five of the guys that you have to beat on the Cup side.  I feel like it’s a really good opportunity to learn and give yourself some more opportunities. The races are shorter over here, so you can’t have one bad pit stop because there’s not enough time to recover.  Those extra two hundred extra miles that you get in the Cup race gives you more time to recover if you have a bad pit stop. Everybody has to be a little bit more on (their) game over here.  The pit crew is a big part of what you’re doing in giving you that chance to win.”


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