In only his second full-time season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Sam Hornish Jr. is finding his groove and serving notice to all that he’s a serious title contender.
After his victory in last Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas, it is evident that he’s on the championship radar now as the series heads to Bristol for Saturday’s Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 300.
Hornish has finished in the top 10 in the first three races of the 2013 season, capped with his strong victory last Saturday, where he led 114 of the 200 laps to hold off NSCS regular and NNS career wins leader Kyle Busch at the finish line by 1.1 seconds.
In the season-opening DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona, he finished second to NSCS regular Tony Stewart. Hornish left Florida with a slim one-point advantage over Justin Allgaier. In the second race of the season, Hornish finished seventh in the Dollar General 200 Fueled by AmeriGas in Phoenix.
When the series arrived in Vegas, he was deadlocked with Allgaier atop the points standings. However, due to his runner-up finish in the season opener, Hornish held the tiebreaker. He surged forward on his Vegas win and now leads a trio of drivers (Allgaier, Elliott Sadler and Brian Scott) by 19 points.
If Hornish is to remain in his current position, he’ll need to finish higher than he has in any of his past three starts at the short track. While finishes of 14th, 13th and 10th aren’t bad, they could spell the difference between remaining the focal point on the radar and falling back among the other contenders.