Penske Racing has announced that Sam Hornish Jr. will remain in Montreal through the conclusion of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race there this weekend. Parker Kligerman will practice and qualify the team's No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge at Michigan, with Hornish set to take over the car on Sunday.
With Hornish running third in the Nationwide Series points and poised to have a serious shot at the series' title, he will remain in Montreal focusing on the task at hand there through the conclusion of Saturday's race. The first time he will climb aboard the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge will be on Sunday morning on the starting grid at MIS.
"We'll have Parker behind the wheel for all the practice and for qualifying," said crew chief Todd Gordon. "I have worked with him on several occasions and I am confident that he can do an excellent job in getting our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge team as prepared as possible for Sunday's race.
"Sure, we'd rather have Sam in the car for all the practice and qualifying, but the logistics of getting him back and forth were impossible," Gordon added. "We had the foresight to take advantage of the Goodyear tire test at Michigan several weeks back and put Sam in the car there that day. It will definitely pay dividends. We can look at it now as Sam's ‘happy hour' of practice.
"It will be another case of relying on our teammates to help us out with the race day setup that we put in the car for Sam. What we have seen so far in the five races with Sam driving our car is that what he likes is very...very...close to what Brad (Keselowski) likes. That is a huge bonus and should make what we're up against this weekend a heck of a lot easier. If you had to choose a track where you had to start at the rear of the field and maybe had the worst spot on pit road, Michigan would definitely be the overwhelming choice."
Hornish can take additional confidence for the Nationwide road race on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve from his showing at Watkins Glen last weekend. The former IndyCar star won the pole and finished third in last Saturday's Nationwide Series race and followed it up with an impressive fifth-place finish in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race there.
"I probably ran about 95 percent most of the day knowing that I needed a fast car late in the day to have a shot at a top-10 or better,” Hornish said of his Cup run at the Glen. “It was about five laps to go when I really put the hammer down and ran as hard as I could. I'm proud of this team. We continue to get better each week and that's what you need at this level.”