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This week in NASCAR

This week in NASCAR

DOVER, Del. – Sam Hornish Jr. is getting the hang of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Hornish, from Defiance, Ohio, has quite the impressive résumé. He is a former winner of the Indianapolis 500 and a threetime IndyCar champion. When he struggled in NASCAR, many observers anticipated that he might return to the open-wheel ranks, but the challenge of adapting to stock cars appealed to him. Though he was runner-up to Regan Smith in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year race, Hornish was only 35 th in the final standings. He has stuck with the NASCAR experiment, and recently his performances have notably improved. He finished ninth at Phoenix, sixth at Richmond, 16 th at Charlotte and 13 th in Dover’s Autism Speaks 400. Falling from the spotlight in NASCAR didn’t faze Hornish. “I’ve never really considered myself somebody that needed a bunch of attention,” he said. “To be able to sit back and watch what other people are doing, and not have all the pressure on you all the time was good. It enabled me sometimes to learn a little bit more and also be able to kind of fly under the radar and to be able to make my way in and out of certain areas. “The better you do, the more consistently that you’re in the top 15, the top 10, you’re going to get more and more attention. Obviously, I want that because it means we’re running well, but as far as needing it, keeping the sponsor [Mobil 1] happy is the first thing, and then also keeping myself happy as far as how we do on the race track are the two most important things.” Part of Hornish’s transition has involved adapting to NASCAR’s longer races. “I had all that experience running the Indy cars,” he said, “and a lot of times I consider those sprint races because they’re 200 laps or 200 miles. Everything that we run over here is 400 or 500 laps, or 400 or 500 miles. Sometimes it’s a matter of pacing yourself to get to the end with all the fenders intact.” Copyright 2009 King Features Syndicate

Sam Hornish Jr., a former Indianapolis 500 winner, has shown notable improvement in NAsCAR this season. (Photo: John Clark/NAsCAR This Week)

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