After indicating earlier this summer that Sam Hornish Jr. was sure to stay with Penske Racing's Sprint Cup program next season, the team has acknowledged that's no longer a sure thing as the sponsorship search continues for Hornish's No. 77 Dodge.
"Right now we're still in search of a primary sponsor for that car. That search will continue for the rest of the year," team president Tim Cindric told NASCAR.com. "The good news is that it's September and not December."
Cindric (with Hornish, LEFT) acknowledged, however, that the air of certainty team owner Roger Penske had expressed in a media teleconference last month about Hornish's continuing with the team has diminished, and indicated the former IndyCar star was free to pursue any other opportunities available to him.
"I wouldn't say anything is for sure," he said. "You can't race without the funding. So as we sit right now, we're collectively trying to do that – but we also understand that if there are opportunities for him, it's an open book as far as communication. We're certainly not going to stand in his way as far as furthering his career, but we'd certainly like for him to be able to continue with us."
Hornish, 31, is in his third full Sprint Cup season with Penske since leaving IndyCar racing. He has no top-10 finishes this year and an average finish of 24.8. When speculation first arose about Hornish's future with Penske earlier this year, due to the impending departure of his sponsor Mobil 1, he indicated his preference would be to find another ride in NASCAR if a seat with Penske was unavailable for 2011, rather than return to open-wheel racing.
"I'd definitely like to be back in the Sprint Cup series and I'm going to work to be able to try to do that," Hornish said.