NNS: Hornish wins at PIR to claim first NASCAR victory

Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR

Nerves and uncertainty abounded when drivers hit the track at Phoenix International Raceway for Saturday's Wypall 200.

Right at the drop of the green flag, just two laps in a caution waved after Reed Sorenson got into the back of Brian Scott, triggering an eight-car wreck. Collected in the wreck were the cars of Sorenson, Scott, Ron Hornaday, Ricky Carmichael, Danica Patrick, Tim Andrews and others. The wreck ended Scott’s day. Patrick pitted multiple times for repairs to the No. 7 GoDaddy car and was able to bring home a 21st-place finish.

The new surface at Phoenix was slick, but three cars seemed to figure it out. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Aric Almirola and Sam Hornish Jr. were the only drivers to lead laps during the race today. Stenhouse lead the most laps (73) and collects the additional point for doing so.

The keyword for today’s race may have been frustration. Frustration flew for James Buescher after being crashed by Steven Wallace in a two-car accident on Lap 145. Both drivers’ days were done as a result of the wrecks. In their interviews afterward, that frustration showed. Buescher said of Wallace, “Guess that's what happens when you're side-by-side with Steve Wallace. You wind up wrecked." Wallace retorted, “James can be displeased all he wants but when you run somebody 2-wide on a single-lane track for 15-20 laps ... it kind of gets them aggravated. I definitely didn't do that intentional but I got loose because he was driving side-by-side with me.”

Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR
The points battle went up in the air after Elliott Sadler crashed into the wall. Racing for position with just 25 laps remaining, Sadler was dumped by Jason Leffler. Also involved in the wreck were the cars of Aric Almirola and Morgan Shepherd, who took a hard hit. A red flag was brought out as repairs were made to the SAFER barrier and oil was cleaned off the track.

Headed into Homestead, Stenhouse now has a 41-point advantage over Sadler.

Claiming victory for the first time in his NASCAR career was the No. 12 car of Sam Hornish Jr. This was Hornish’s 141 combined starts in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series after Roger Penske recruited him to join NASCAR from IndyCar.

After the race, Hornish said, “I can’t hardly believe it,” still in shock from the win.

Team owner Roger Penske has big plans for Hornish: “Our goal is to run for the championship in Nationwide with Sam (Hornish) next year.''

1. Sam Hornish Jr.
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Carl Edwards
4. Joey Logano
5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
6. Trevor Bayne
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Ryan Truex
9. Justin Allgaier
10. Michael Annett
11. David Stremme
12. Joe Nemechek
13. Ron Hornaday
14. Blake Koch
15. Ricky Carmichael
16. Mike Wallace
17. Kenny Wallace
18. Timmy Hill
19. Eric McClure
20. Kevin Lepage
21. Danica Patrick
22. Robert Richardson Jr.
23. TJ Duke
24. Jeremy Clements
25. Aric Almirola
26. Jason Leffler
27. Elliott Sadler
28. Morgan Shepherd
29. Steve Wallace
30. James Buescher
31. Mike Bliss
32. Derrike Cope
33. D.J. Kennington
34. Jeff Green
35. Reed Sorenson
36. Mark Green
37. Scott Speed
38. Chase Miller
39. Matt Carter
40. Johnny Chapman
41. Brian Scott
42. Matt Frahm
43. Tim Andrews

Next week, the Nationwide Series heads to Homestead for the final race of the season and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. looks to clench the championship.
NNS: Hornish wins at PIR to claim first NASCAR victory NNS: Hornish wins at PIR to claim first NASCAR victory Reviewed by Unknown on Saturday, November 12, 2011 Rating: 5