Amid mounting speculation that his days with Penske Racing's NASCAR Sprint Cup team are numbered, due to the pending withdrawal of primary sponsor Mobil 1 as well as his disappointing results, Sam Hornish Jr. admitted for the first time that he would not preclude the possibility of returning to IndyCar racing, where he won the Indy 500 and series championship. However, the Ohioan continues to insist that staying in NASCAR remains his first choice – even if it means dropping down to the second-tier Nationwide Series – rather than open-wheel racing.
"They [Penske] asked what my preference was, and my preference was to stay in the Cup Series," Hornish told the Associated Press. "They're not going to stand in my way if I get the opportunity to be able to do that."
A possible opening for Hornish in IndyCar could be his old team Panther Racing, for whom he drove before switching to Penske for the 2004 season. Panther's current full-time driver, Dan Wheldon, is expected to leave that team at the end of the season.
"I've said a lot of times I don't have a lot of interest to go back [to IndyCar], but I'm not going to say never," Hornish said. "My goal is to try to stay in the Cup Series, and if I have to take a step back and run Nationwide, that's a possibility. I'll have to wait and see how it plays out, I guess."