SAM HORNISH JR. TO DRIVE FOR MICHAEL SHANK RACING IN 1999 KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP COLUMBUS, Ohio, January 5, 1999 - Michael Shank Racing announced that is has signed Sam Hornish Jr. To drive in the...
SAM HORNISH JR. TO DRIVE FOR MICHAEL SHANK RACING IN 1999 KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP
COLUMBUS, Ohio, January 5, 1999 - Michael Shank Racing announced that is has signed Sam Hornish Jr. To drive in the 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship.
Hornish, 19, joins the MSR team following three highly successful seasons of the U.S. Formula 2000 National Championship competition, where he posted six top-five finishes in 31 events, including a career-high second place at Pikes Peak in 1998. One of the youngest full-time drivers in last year's U.S. F2000 ranks, Hornish placed fifth in the series' oval crown championship standings and seventh overall with the Primus Racing Team.
A native of Defiance, Ohio, Hornish agreed to terms with MSR following several impressive test sessions in a Swift 008.a a Gingerman Raceway (South Haven, Mich.), USA Speedway (Lakeland, Fla.) and Sebring International Raceway (Sebring, Fla.).
"I've been following Sam's career over the past two years have felt for some time now that he was one of the most underrated drivers in the F2000 series," said MSR owner Michael Shank. "And after watching him test with us at Gingerman, Lakeland and Sebring, I'm convinced he has the talent and adesire that a driver needs to accomplish great things in our sport. Our team is looking forward to working with Sam and having a highly productive 1999 season."
"I'm really excited about the opportunity to drive for Michael Shank Racing in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship at this stage in my career," said Hornish Jr. "The team proved last year that they have what it takes to win races, and I'm looking forward to competing in a series that has produced some of the biggest names in the open-wheel racing.
"All of the testing that I've done with the team so far has gone extremely well, and with the tremendous amount of experience that MSR's mechanics and engineers have, I'm confident that we can be competitive right from the beginning of the season. I know I have a lot to learn about driving an Atlantic car and the tracks they run on, but it's a challenge I've been waiting for."
Michael Shank Racing is based in Columbus, Ohio, and competed in the 1998 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship with drivers Kenny Wilden and John Rutherford IV. The team's top '98 efforts included a victory at Cleveland (its first in the the series) and third-place finishes at Toronto, Elkhart Lake and Laguna Seca - all by Wilden. An announcement concerning the driver of MSR's second entry in the 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship is expected shortly.
The 1999 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship season opens at Long Beach, Calif., on April 17.
SAM HORNISH JR. FAST FACTS
Birth date: July 2, 1979 Residence: Defiance, OH Birth place: Bryan, OH Height: 5'10" Weight: 145 lbs. Marital status: Single Team: Michael Shank Racing Race series: KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship
1998 U.S. F2000 National Championship, Primus Racing: Competed in all 14 events. Claimed a career-best second-place finish at Pikes Peak. Notched two podium and six top-five finishes on the season. Finished seventh in the final points standings in the oval crown championship.
1997 U.S. F2000 National Championship, Bordin Racing: Competed in 11 of 12 events, finishing a season-best 11th at Pikes Peak and Charlotte. Finished 22nd in the final points standings and 18th in the oval crown championship.
1996 U.S. F2000 National Championlship, Hornish Racing Team: Competed in six of the 12 events. Finished 10th in the rain at Watkins Glen after starting 33rd.
1995 World Karting Association: Wond the U.S. Grand National Championship. In 54 starts, claimed nine victories and 38 top-five finishes.
SCCA Club Racing: Competed in one SCCA Regional event. Finished third in the Formula Continental class at Nelson Ledges Road Course.
1994 World Karting Association: Won the US820 Junior Class National Championship, U.S. Grand National Championship, and Canadian Grand National Championship. In 55 starts, notched 19 victories and 43 top-five finishes.
1993 World Karting Association: Won seven races and claimed 29 top-five finishes in 37 events.