SAM HORNISH JR (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger) CAN YOU TALK ABOUT COMING BACK TO INDY AGAIN AND DRIVING FOR ROGER PENSKE? "Roger (Penske) really cares a lot about the speedway. He's been coming here since he was a kid. To have an opportunity to...
SAM HORNISH JR (No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger)
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT COMING BACK TO INDY AGAIN AND DRIVING FOR ROGER PENSKE? "Roger (Penske) really cares a lot about the speedway. He's been coming here since he was a kid. To have an opportunity to drive for Roger in both IndyCar and NASCAR has been an honor. Being a former (Indy) 500 winner, there's nothing more you want to do than come back here and win again. To have the opportunity to be the first person to win in both an Indy car and Cup car would be really neat to do. Juan Pablo (Montoya) was pretty close last year. A lot of people say that if you run well at Pocono, you should be able to run well here and we ran pretty good up there earlier this year. I'm just looking forward to getting out there. I always enjoy coming back to the speedway (IMS). You get to come back to the museum and check out the old cars and see how different they use to do it 30, 40, 50 years ago and what some of the guys got into. What it looked like then was pretty advanced as compared to what they look like today. Looking at them now, they look a little bit scary sometimes. It's definitely a good time to be a race car driver. It's neat to come out here."
WHAT KIND OF AN ACCOMPLISHMENT WOULD IT BE IF JIMMIE JOHNSON WINS THREE RACES IN A ROW HERE? "Jimmie's pretty good at getting on a roll and keeping it going. I think that it's definitely a difficult race to win no matter what kind of car that you're in. They've got as good a shot at winning as anybody. The thing that you look at is these cars...when the Car of Tomorrow came out... it's kept the box a lot tighter for what you can do. So when you get that little bit of an advantage, it's easier to keep it compared to the old car. They definitely found what worked well when the new car came in and that's how you become successful in racing."
HOW NICE IS IT TO BE HERE IN INDY FOR THREE DAYS VERSUS THREE WEEKS? "I grew up coming out here a couple times a month watching the races and just being a fan of it. Now in May, I get to turn on the TV and watch, be a fan. It's like being a kid again. Coming back here for three days makes it less nerve wracking for me, a lot less pressure. I enjoy that it's not so long. You have a couple practice sessions here, you can go over to the museum and see people that you haven't seen in a while and it's nice. The three week thing was great, but then that first half-hour all the pressure would come back because you want to be fast every day. Whether it was Fast Friday, Pole Day or Carb Day, there was always some kind of pressure."
WHERE DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU PROGRESSION IS AT THE CUP LEVEL? ARE YOU DISAPPOINTING THAT YOU'RE NOT COONTENDING FOR A CHASE SPOT? "That's where I want to be for sure. We've had some ups and downs this year. The year started out pretty well for us. The spoiler threw us for a loop. Ever since we've had the spoiler versus the wing, it seems like we qualify a lot better.
"We've been qualifying in the top 12 every weekend, but for whatever reason, every time that we start a race, we're way too tight. It takes us the first-half to three-quarters of the race to get the car back handling again. If we're lucky enough to stay on the lead lap or keep ourselves in contention to stay on the lead lap, we can try and finish in the top 15. You can't run your races like that. We're still trying to figure out how to get through that to keep ourselves from having that first-half of the race where the car's way too tight and you can't do anything but hold on and keep working on it to make it better. The things that we've tried so far haven't worked."
DO YOU EXPECT TO BE BACK HERE NEXT YEAR IN A STOCK CAR? INDY CAR? "I don't know yet. I'd like to be here in a stock car, that's for sure. Everybody's talking about a big bonus to win both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day and I remember getting out of the car after the 600 and thinking that you'd have to be stupid to go run 500 miles before you jumped in (a stock car) because it was so hot. I think that once those things roll around and you get an opportunity to get into two good cars and go do both, there are people that would jump up and do it if there was a bonus for it. Nobody's ever won both of those races in a lifetime let alone in the same day."
DO YOU HAVE ANY UPDATES ON NEXT YEAR? "No updates as far as I'm concerned yet. I definitely like to be back in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I'm going to try and do that, but there are definitely things tough with the economy and trying to find full-time sponsors. We're going to do whatever we can to make that happen and get back in Sprint Cup. If that doesn't work, we're going to take a look around at something else. I think that we have some great opportunities to make that happen."
-source: dodge motorsports