Sam Hornish, Jr. might be set to dabble in NASCAR but his heart is still with the IndyCar series.
The three-time IndyCar champion will attempt to qualify for the Busch series races at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway in the No. 39 Penske Racing Dodge sponsored by Mobil 1.
"I'm really excited that Penske Racing and Mobil 1 are giving me an opportunity to drive a Busch car," said Hornish, Jr. "We talked about it the last couple of years and decided that when we thought the time was right that's what we were going to do. Basically, that is what we have been saying all along and with the Indy season being consolidated it gives me an opportunity in my free time to venture out and do some other things."
Hornish feels confident that Phoenix and Homestead will be the best two tracks for him to showcase his talent in a stock car. He has five-career IndyCar wins between those two tracks.
For Hornish, however, his main focus will remain winning races and championships in the IRL.
"We are going to wait and see how it goes," said Hornish of his long term plans. "We have an opportunity to run a couple of races this year and some next year with what doesn't conflict with the IRL schedule. The big thing for me right now is just to get in the first couple of races."
With the recent defection of several open wheel drivers to NASCAR, Hornish was adamant that he had no immediate plan to move permanently to stock cars, "There's not a particular reason I am doing this, except to see if I can. To see if I can make a go of it, right now we are still going to focus 100% on the IndyCar side of it. I want to come out here and see if I can be competitive at it and depending on what happens, anything can happen in the future. But for the immediate future we are going to focus on IndyCar.
"Those are the things I came to Penske to originally accomplish, to run well in IndyCar."
If the NASCAR thing doesn't work out, Hornish will be accepting, "If I decided I didn't want to race tomorrow, I can could quit and feel like I accomplished everything that I started out too. When I first started racing it was how I get to Indianapolis, how do I somehow qualify for that race. Not knowing what was going to be the right thing or which way for me to head.
"When I got to Indianapolis I decided that I needed to win and I wouldn't be happy if I didn't. Maybe months from now I will wake up and decided I need to win a Busch race or I need to win a Cup race or I need to win the Brickyard 400 or the Daytona 500 -that might be the next challenge.
"But we don't know yet."
Hornish is the driver with the most wins in the IndyCar Series history and is the only driver to hold three series championships.