Three-time IndyCar champion and 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. can return to Indy with Penske this May if he wishes, but there is currently no firm intention for him to do so, according to team president Tim Cindric.
Hornish's NASCAR future is currently in doubt beyond next year's Daytona 500, and earlier this week Roger Penske appeared to suggest that if a full-time NASCAR program cannot be put together, Hornish would be back at the Indy 500 instead.
The 31-year-old American moved to NASCAR with Penske three years ago, but has so far not been a frontrunner in stock cars. Cindric said Hornish just had to ask and Penske would provide a car for him for Indy.
"I'd love to see Sam run Indy next year if he wants to," said Cindric. "We always told him if he wants to run Indy again, he needs to raise his hand and we'll figure it out. I don't think that's any different than years past."
Cindric emphasized that he believes Hornish's preference is to keep trying to make a success of his NASCAR career.
"I think the speculation is coming from the fact that he's one of those in stock car land, and he/we haven't been able to put a program together for him next year," he said. "I know that's what he wants to continue to accomplish. That said, I know that the Indy 500 is near and dear to his heart. I think we don't have any plans for that yet."
He added that Penske would not try and influence Hornish one way or the other.
"If he wants to run the Indy 500, we'll figure out a way to run the Indy 500 with Sam Hornish. He's that good," said Cindric. "But we're certainly not ever going to force him into doing that or do something that would change his career from the path that he wants it to take. "
• Read the full Q & A with Tim Cindric here