FORT WORTH, Texas (June 9, 2007) -- Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr. fought off a stiff challenge from Tony Kanaan through the final 21 laps of Saturday night's Bombardier Learjet 550k to become the first driver to claim three victories at Texas...
FORT WORTH, Texas (June 9, 2007) -- Team Penske's Sam Hornish Jr. fought off a stiff challenge from Tony Kanaan through the final 21 laps of Saturday night's Bombardier Learjet 550k to become the first driver to claim three victories at Texas Motor Speedway.
The No. 6 Team Penske Honda/Dallara finished 0.0786 second ahead of Kanaan to score the 19th victory of Hornish's IndyCar Series career. He won at Texas in 2001 and 2002, finished second in '05, third in '01, and fourth in '04 and '06.
"It's been unbelievable," Hornish said. "If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would ever win 19 IndyCar races in my career, I would have told you that you were crazy. I'm really thankful that I've been given so much. Sometimes I don't think I deserve it, but for whatever reason, I feel like I've been blessed."
While Hornish controlled the race, leading 159 of the 228 laps, Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves encountered trouble. The No. 3 Team Penske Honda/Dallara was caught in a multi-car crash on the 198th lap while Castroneves was battling among the lead-lap cars.
He wasn't injured, but the resulting 16th-place finish dropped Castroneves to sixth in the IndyCar Series standings.
"All I saw was smoke," Castroneves said. "My spotter said to go low, so I did. All of a sudden, bam! I was like, 'What was that?'"
The high-banked, 1.5-mile Texas oval has long been a Hornish and Penske trademark. This race, however, was a bit different. Officials lengthened it by 28 laps because earlier IndyCar races at Texas were thought to be ending too quickly.
"I was pretty upset at lap 200 when the yellow came out and I knew Tony was going to have a shot to catch back up to me when I had a 9-second lead," Hornish said. "I was under yellow and would have won (under the old format). I was like, 'Man, all I need now is a tire to go down or something to happen.'"
Instead, Hornish obtained the victory that had eluded him this season at the track that had always been good to him.
"We didn't necessarily have bad luck this season, but we just couldn't get things to go our way," said Hornish, who improved to fifth in the drivers' standings, 27 points off the pace. "I've said all season that we're right there. We're right on the edge, if only we can get things to go our way."
After a weekend off, the IndyCar Series resumes June 24 with its first visit to Iowa Speedway.