IRL: Pather Racing names Hornish, Jr. to 2001 ride

FORT WORTH, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2000 - Sam Hornish Jr., one of the top rookies in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series this season, was named Oct. 15 as the driver for Pennzoil Panther Racing in the series in 2001. Hornish,...

FORT WORTH, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2000 - Sam Hornish Jr., one of the top rookies in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series this season, was named Oct. 15 as the driver for Pennzoil Panther Racing in the series in 2001. Hornish, 21, from Defiance, Ohio, has enjoyed an outstanding rookie season with PDM Racing. He finished 21st in the final point standings and was fourth in the RaceSearch.com Rookie of the Year point standings despite entering only eight of nine races. His best finish was third in the Vegas Indy 300 in April at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "I have learned a lot this season about the cars, competitors and tracks," Hornish said. "I am really looking forward to working with Andy Brown, Kevin Blanch and the rest of the Panther Pack as we begin preparing for 2001. Hopefully it is the beginning of a long, successful relationship." Hornish replaces Scott Goodyear, who has been the team's driver since its inception in 1998. Goodyear won the season-ending Excite 500 on Oct. 15 at Texas Motor Speedway. A superb performance by Hornish in a test session with Panther Racing this summer impressed team manager and co-owner John Barnes, paving the way for Hornish to join the team. "There is obviously a whole bunch of talented drivers who would have been able to fit nicely into the Panther Racing program," Barnes said. "But ultimately, we felt that in order to stand out above the crowd in this increasingly competitive series, we needed to select a driver who possessed the right balance of experience, talent and desire. "We have found that in Sam Hornish Jr." Before making his Indy Racing debut in 2000, Hornish was the rookie of the year in the Toyota Atlantic series in 1999, earning one victory. He competed in the U.S. F2000 series from 1996-98, with three podium finishes. Hornish began his racing career in karts, where he compiled 35 feature victories and two national championships from 1993-95. "Racing is increasingly becoming a sport of desire and youth, as evidenced by the success of Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and others," said Jim Postl, Pennzoil-Quaker State Company president and chief executive officer. "Pennzoil firmly believes that Sam Hornish gives us the best chance at victory, not just in 2001, but in the long term. "We are investing in what we believe is the driver with the most potential and the best opportunity to keep the Pennzoil colors at the front of the pack. Sam has been successful in every division in which he has participated, and we anticipate the yellow Pennzoil car getting to Victory Lane very quickly with Sam behind the wheel."

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Scott Goodyear , John Barnes , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis
Teams Panther Racing