After nearly a nine-month absence, Sam Hornish Jr. will return to NASCAR competition next week with Team Penske in the Xfinity Series, the team announced Thursday.
The 37-year-old driver will pilot Penske’s No. 22 Ford in three races, beginning with the June 24 race at Iowa Speedway. He will be back in the car July 29 at Iowa and on August 12 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Hornish’s history with Team Penske goes back to four IndyCar seasons with the team from 2004-07. He won eight races, including the 2006 Indianapolis 500. He then made the move to NASCAR, where he competed in the Cup Series full-time from 2008-10 with Penske and in 2015 with Richard Petty Motorsports.
He has 167 Cup starts since 2007 and 114 starts and four wins in the Xfinity Series since 2006.
“I’m really excited to return to Team Penske and get the opportunity to drive the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang in a few races this season,” Hornish said in a press release. “Team Penske continues to be one of the top teams in the Xfinity Series. and I’m looking forward to once again working with them.
“Roger (Penske) and Team Penske have been a huge part of my racing career, so coming back here feels like home. I’m also really appreciative of everyone at Discount Tire for allowing me to take the reins of one of the most recognizable cars in the garage area.
“The new NASCAR eligibility rules also allow for drivers like me to compete in more races, so I hope to take full advantage of this opportunity.”
Penske may add more races to Hornish’s schedule as the year goes on.
The last time Hornish was on track, he drove the No. 2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing in the Xfinity Series. He competed in three races, in the July Iowa race, at Mid-Ohio and at Kentucky.
But before that, Hornish drove the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in the June Iowa race. He led 183 laps and won the race, which was his first start of the year. He also won at Iowa for JGR in 2014.