Although there are a lot of differences between the 34-year-old Sam Hornish Jr. from Defiance, Ohio, and the 23-year-old Austin Dillon from Welcome, N.C., one thing they do have in common is their competitive fire and drive to be the best race car driver possible.
That, however, is where the similarities end.
Dillon, who currently leads Hornish in the standings by eight points, is still relatively young in racing experience having only completed in 139 races between NASCAR’s three national series. Prior to arriving fulltime in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where he won the 2011 championship, Dillon competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.
In four fulltime seasons of NASCAR national series competition, he’s collected seven wins – two in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. So far this season, Dillon has compiled 11 top fives and 20 top 10s along with a series-high seven poles. His 555 laps led already have surpassed his 2012 total.
In eight combined starts at the three tracks remaining on the schedule – Texas, Phoenix, Homestead-Miami – his average finish is 8.6.
While this is only Hornish’s second full-time season in the series as well, he’s taken a different route to get here. Before joining the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008, he competed in the IndyCar Series for eight seasons, claiming three championships and winning one of the biggest races in the world, the Indianapolis 500 in 2006.
Hornish competed in the NSCS fulltime for three seasons (2008-10) before moving to the NNS fulltime in 2012. Earlier this season he won at Las Vegas for his second win in the series. In 18 starts at the three remaining tracks, he has a finishing position of 18.9, which includes a first-place finish at Phoenix in 2011.