BROOKLYN, Mich. - Sam Hornish Jr. was not directly involved in the day-long dogfight between winner Buddy Rice and runner-up Tony Kanaan in yesterday's Michigan 400 IRL race, but he had a pretty good seat during the battle.
Hornish, who finished fourth, ran as high as second in the race and was in the top five for most of the afternoon.
"We gave it all we had today, and at least we were able to bring it home in fourth," he said. "We had a good handling car and we were able to run in the top five most of the day. We wanted to make sure we stayed in the draft and kept ourselves in a position for a run at the end. We just didn't have quite enough to catch the leaders."
Hornish, who has one win this season, his first with Marlboro Team Penske, said the lead pack was very competitive throughout the race.
"It was a battlefield out there and we worked our butts off all day," the two-time IndyCar Series champ said. "I cringed for about three-quarters of the laps, but we had a heck of a race car today. Obviously, you want to win, but I'm pretty happy we stayed up there and kept it close."
Hornish, who is fifth in the IRL points race with six events to go, said he is looking for better things in the last portion of the season.
"We've had some ups and downs, definitely," he said. "We've been able to be fast everywhere we've gone, but after the first race we haven't found that winning position. After that first race, it's been one of those deals where we couldn't do anything right, whether it was something I did wrong or just plain bad luck.
"We've taken care of about 95 percent of this by having the right car, having it ready, making sure I don't make any mistakes, and making all the preparations. The other five percent is just being in the right place at the right time, and getting a little bit of luck, and we haven't been able to find anything but bad luck lately."
Hornish said he is able to quickly put the bad breaks and any misfortune and disappointments behind him and focus on the next race, no matter what happens.
"Every time I get in the car, it's kind of like a new day," he said. "I don't think about the things in the past that have gotten me. You just keep going, try to head in the right direction, stay positive and make up for the problems you've had in the past. We're still trying to play catchup a little bit, and see what we're going to do."
The next IRL race is in two weeks at Kentucky Speedway.42.11068 -84.24795