|Sam Hornish Jr. will make his 2011 return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Pocono Raceway this weekend, manning the wheel of the No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford while Travis Kvapil competes in the Camping World Truck Series in Texas. The three-time IndyCar Champion has 108 Cup races under his belt since making the move to stock-car racing, but this weekend’s event in Long Pond, Pa., will be his first this year.
The 2.5-mile track known as the “Tricky Triangle” is the perfect place for Hornish to make his return. The low-banked, sharp-turning tri-oval suits the former open-wheel racer. He has a top-five, two top-10 and four top-15 finishes in his six Cup career starts there. Hornish is also familiar with No. 38 crew chief Jay Guy, whom he was a co-worker with at Penske Racing in Sprint Cup.
Comments from Long John Silver’s driver Sam Hornish on Pocono and driving for Front Row:
“I’m really excited to get back in a Cup car. And it’s not just an opportunity to run a Cup race, but I get to race at Pocono. That’s a track that a lot of drivers don’t like and it puts them in a bad mood trying to figure it out. And that actually can pay dividends for me because I like racing there and I go there with confidence. I’ve run well there the past two years with four top-15 finishes.
“I got a call from Penske asking if I was interested in running the ‘38′ while Travis was racing trucks, and I was on the phone with Front Row about half an hour later working it all out. It came together pretty fast but I was excited to do it.
“It’s going to be a little difficult, obviously, because there’s not a lot of time to work together to prepare. Pocono is hot and it’s 500 miles, so it can be pretty uncomfortable over the course of the race, so it’s important to have a good fit in the car. I was at the Front Row shop last week and again Monday working on getting fitted. And I’ve been spending some time with Jay Guy, going over the set-up of the car, so we have a good game plan going in.
“I knew Jay from when he was at Penske, but I didn’t work directly with him. But I’m looking forward to working with him this week. As challenging as it’s going to be coming in for one race with a team I haven’t worked with before, it’s refreshing at the same time. I’ve only raced a stock car with Penske, so it will be good to try something different and get that experience.”