IRL: Here's looking at you Sam

Skip Barber trained Sam Hornish Jr. celebrated his first career win in Sunday's IRL season opener at Phoenix International Raceway. Hornish, whose race resume includes a Skip Barber Three-Day Racing School in 1995 and two subsequent Lapping...

Skip Barber trained Sam Hornish Jr. celebrated his first career win in Sunday's IRL season opener at Phoenix International Raceway. Hornish, whose race resume includes a Skip Barber Three-Day Racing School in 1995 and two subsequent Lapping sessions in 1999, led the first 67 laps of the Pennzoil Copper World Indy 200. He then avoided calamity when he nearly got together with last year's champion coming out of the pits on his first stop. Hornish re-took the lead with 72 laps to go and fought off advances from fellow Barberite Helio Castroneves and Eliseo Salazar for his first series win.

After the action, Hornish was pleased with his effort and his team's performance.

"We had a couple of close calls out there, but overall it went smooth." said Hornish. He went on, "This is a great opportunity for me. [Our] team is well funded. It is good to know I will get to run all of the races. With the equipment I have now I just need to be patient and remain cool which is what today. I think the track changed twice, once at about 40 laps, when it got loose, and then again at 180, when I started feeling every twitch in the car. The track just kept getting greasy. I think that is what you get with the afternoon heat. I knew I had a better car in traffic than he [Helio Castroneves] did. He couldn't run high. I just tried to be smooth and run my line and make him go around me high... I think my advantage is I was the best in traffic. I could put my car anywhere I wanted.

Hornish also spoke to an increased level of confidence as a result of presumed regular attendance.

"Knowing I'm going to every race really is a big confidence builder. I know that if I wreck a car it is not the end of the world even though we don't want to do that. I'm surprised to get the victory as soon as we did. I thought we had a good shot at a top three at this race, but as far as being surprised on the success of my career, I'm not surprised."

-Andrew Torres

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eliseo Salazar , Helio Castroneves , Skip Barber , Sam Hornish Jr.