Penske Racing confirmed during NASCAR's Sprint Media Tour that it will field a No. 12 Dodge Challenger for Sam Hornish Jr. for a limited schedule of the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series. Alliance Truck Parts, a provider of replacement parts for the commercial transportation industry, will be the primary sponsor of the effort for at least eight races, having debuted on Hornish's Nationwide car at the Homestead finale last year (BELOW).
“It's exciting to be able to return to the car and get a chance to represent the Alliance Truck Parts brand again this season," said Hornish, who lost his Sprint Cup ride when primary sponsor Mobil 1 withdrew at the end of last season. I know everyone at Penske Racing will be working hard to get the best results possible this year in the Nationwide Series.”
Hornish said he considered this year's season to be a rebuilding year, and indicated that he had no intention of returning to IndyCar, where he won the Indianapolis 500 and series championship with Penske in 2006.
"I look at this as a step back," said Hornish, who said he hopes to do at least 11 NWS races this year. "I need to take some baby steps to get back to where we want to be – and that's back in the Sprint Cup Series with Penske Racing.
"I don't know if I'd still be racing if I had stayed in open-wheel," he added. "There were a lot of things going on and I might still be doing that, I might not.
"It was one of those things where I wanted to try this, I had an opportunity to try something I've wanted to do since I was a kid. There might be a second thought, just because we're not in the position we want, but there's never going to be any regret about it."
Team owner Roger Penske added that he was confident Hornish can make the grade in NASCAR.
"Sam is a talented driver and has proven he can be a success winning the biggest races in the world like the 500 and Indy Car titles," said Penske. "I'm confident that we can have success this year at the Nationwide level and have every intention of doing what we can to get him back to Sprint Cup with Penske Racing."