FORT WORTH-DALLAS (May 29, 2001) - Rarely does a racing driver reach a goal prior to the midpoint of a season. Not only is Sam Hornish Jr. currently the point leader of the 2001 Indy Racing campaign but he is looking to increase that margin ...
FORT WORTH-DALLAS (May 29, 2001) - Rarely does a racing driver reach a goal prior to the midpoint of a season. Not only is Sam Hornish Jr. currently the point leader of the 2001 Indy Racing campaign but he is looking to increase that margin Saturday night, June 9 in the Casino Magic 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Hornish began his sophomore season in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series driving the Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile, taking over for veteran Scott Goodyear. Goodyear enjoyed success with the Panther Racing team including two Indy Racing triumphs at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway. The naming of Hornish to replace Goodyear surprised many along with his intention of winning at least two races during the 2001 season.
Hornish made an immediate impression on the Indy Racing community by winning the first two races at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway and finishing fourth at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The fast start has placed Hornish into the series' point lead heading into the Texas event.
"We knew he (Hornish) was good, we knew he would shine in good equipment," said Mike Griffin, one of Panther Racing's co-owners. "But we had no idea the start of the season would be so good."
"Well, Panther (Racing) and myself entered the first race of the season with our goal being to win a race or two during the year," said Hornish. "We had a really good race at Phoenix, led 140 laps and won it. Now, all we had to do after Phoenix was to win one more race. Then we went to Homestead and won another race.
"Now, what do we want to do?" questioned the 21-year-old Ohio native. "We have to boost our expectations. Now we expect to win the championship."
The Casino Magic 500 marks the fifth consecutive season of June nighttime Indy Racing competition at Texas. Hornish will battle Greg Ray, Scott Sharp, Eddie Cheever Jr., Mark Dismore, Eliseo Salazar, Jeff Ward, Airton Dare and defending Indy Racing champion Buddy Lazier for the Foyt-Rutherford Trophy. Last year's Casino Magic 500 featured as many as 14 cars battling for the lead and was called the "Greatest Race Ever" by both media and fans attending the race.
Tickets for the Casino Magic 500 are available daily at the speedway ticket office, by calling (817) 215-8500, online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com and at Ticketmaster locations. The Casino Magic 500 gets the green flag at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 9.