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NASCAR New Hampshire Auto Racing Sam Hornish, Jr., said he feels bad for AJ Allmendinger, but he is grateful for another chance in the Sprint Cup.
Sam Hornish, Jr., said he feels bad for AJ Allmendinger, but he is grateful for another chance in the Sprint Cup.
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Published: 7/24/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Hornish making most of 2nd chance in Cup

Defiance native subbing for suspended driver

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

JOLIET, Ill. -- To some extent, Sam Hornish, Jr., is uncomfortable with the idea that he is benefiting from another driver's adversity. That won't stop him from jumping on another chance to race in the Sprint Cup Series.

Given Hornish's own struggles in NASCAR the last few seasons, the former IndyCar ace is thankful for any chance to redeem himself -- even if it took AJ Allmendinger's failed drug test to give Hornish another shot.

"After going through what I went through in the last year, I don't wish anybody any ill will," said Hornish, a Defiance native who won the 2006 Indianapolis 500. "But we're not turning sponsors away, teams aren't turning sponsors away. You've got to be very thankful for what you have right now and the opportunities you've been given."

NASCAR suspended Allmendinger hours before the July 7 race at Daytona for failing a random drug test taken at the end of June at Kentucky Speedway. His second urine sample will be tested today, a critical moment that will likely determine Allmendinger's long-term future at Penske Racing. Roger Penske told SPEED TV on Sunday that he and Penske Racing expect to learn the result of Allmendinger's second urine sample by Thursday.

With Allmendinger in limbo, Hornish has driven the last two Cup races in the No. 22 Cup car in addition to his full-time duties for Penske in the Nationwide Series. If Allmendinger ends up being cleared this week, he'd likely get his ride back.

If not, Hornish could get the chance to race in the Cup Series the rest of the season. Hornish replaced Allmendinger July 7 at the Coke Zero 400, finishing 33rd.

Eight days later, Hornish finished 22nd at the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire International Speedway, and Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said after the race that Hornish will drive in the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge if Allmendinger is not available this weekend at the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Hornish said he hasn't spoken to Allmendinger.

"The way I look at it is, you know, what am I going to say to him?" Hornish said. "Obviously, I don't have any ill will or anything toward him. So it's a tough situation for everybody, because we're all trying to figure out what's going to happen and nobody knows."



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