IRL: Rookie Sam Hornish signs with PDM Racing

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Dec. 16, 1999 - Rising open-wheel talent Sam Hornish Jr. has signed to drive for PDM Racing in the Indy Racing League in 2000, less than two weeks after he passed his rookie test with impressive skill in the team's car. ...

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Dec. 16, 1999 - Rising open-wheel talent Sam Hornish Jr. has signed to drive for PDM Racing in the Indy Racing League in 2000, less than two weeks after he passed his rookie test with impressive skill in the team's car. Hornish, from Defiance, Ohio, will make his Indy Racing debut Jan. 29 with Indianapolis-based PDM in the season-opening Delphi Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway near Orlando, Fla. He displayed good speed and car control while completing his rookie test Dec. 6 on the tricky 1-mile Disney tri-oval. "The first thing I want to do is make the race," Hornish said. "I would also like to make everyone happy with where we finish. I am not sure what a realistic goal is yet. I want to stay out of trouble and finish the race." Hornish, 20, finished seventh overall in 1999 in his first season in the KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Championship. He was the top-placing rookie in the series, earning rookie of the year honors, and won the event at Chicago Motor Speedway. He finished seventh in the U.S. F2000 point standings in 1998 against a field that included 1999 Indianapolis 500 Bank One Rookie of the Year Robby McGehee. Hornish also has competed in SCCA Club Racing events and is a former national champion in World Karting Association-sanctioned racing. PDM and Hornish plan to participate in the second league Open Test of the offseason, Jan. 5-6 at Walt Disney World Speedway. "I just hope to get a feel for the 3.5-liter motor," said Hornish, who passed his rookie test in a car powered by a 4.0-liter Aurora engine. "We want to see what the difference between a '99 and a new car is so we can set our goals for the race" Said PDM co-owner Paul Diatlovich: "Sam did a great job in Orlando. He has the skills to compete in the IRL. He learned a lot in Orlando, and we're confident that he'll do very well at the Open Test and at the race."

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