Sam Hornish Jr. will make his first NASCAR Sprint Cup appearance of 2011 at Pocono Raceway this weekend, taking over the No. 38 Long John Silver's Ford while Travis Kvapil competes in the Camping World Truck Series in Texas. The three-time IndyCar Series champion has 108 Cup races under his belt since making the move to stock car racing, but this weekend's event in Long Pond, Pa., will be his first this year, as he is running Nationwide Series events for Penske Racing.
"I'm really excited to get back in a Cup car. And it's not just an opportunity to run a Cup race, but I get to race at Pocono," said Hornish. "That's a track a lot of drivers don't like and it puts them in a bad mood trying to figure it out. And that actually can pay dividends for me, because I like racing there and I go there with confidence. I've run well there the past two years with four top-15 finishes.
"I got a call from Penske asking if I was interested in running the 38 while Travis was racing trucks, and I was on the phone with Front Row about half an hour later working it all out. It came together pretty fast but I was excited to do it.
"It's going to be a little difficult, obviously, because there's not a lot of time to work together to prepare. Pocono is hot and it's 500 miles, so it can be pretty uncomfortable over the course of the race, so it's important to have a good fit in the car. I was at the Front Row shop last week and again Monday working on getting fitted. And I've been spending some time with Jay Guy, going over the setup of the car, so we have a good game plan going in. I knew Jay from when he was at Penske, but I didn't work directly with him. But I'm looking forward to working with him this week.
"As challenging as it's going to be, coming in for one race with a team I haven't worked with before, it's refreshing at the same time. I've only raced a stock car with Penske, so it will be good to try something different and get that experience."