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Hornish gets full Nationwide season at Penske

Sam Hornish Jr. is back in full-time NASCAR competition, with Penske Racing announcing a full-season deal for the former Indy 500 winner to race in Nationwide in 2012.
Sam Hornish Jr. has secured a full-season return to racing in NASCAR's Nationwide Series in 2012.

The former Indianapolis 500 winner and three-time Indy Racing League champion has been signed by Penske Racing to take charge of the #12 Dodge Challenger for the upcoming 33-race championship.

After leaving open wheel-racing at the end of a disappointing 2007 season, Hornish competed in three seasons in NASCAR's Sprint Cup championship for Penske but was left without a regular ride in stock cars in 2011. He ran in only one Cup race in 2011 but had 13 Nationwide outings, which included leading team mate Brad Keselowski home to a Penske 1-2 at Phoenix International Raceway in November.

“I'm really excited about this season. Last year was a little difficult to say the least,” Hornish told reporters on the last day of NASCAR's Sprint Media Tour when it arrived at Penske Racing's headquarters in Mooresville, NC. "I was able to learn a lot last year. I just feel like we've got a lot of things going for us."

Hornish's season is being backed financially by a 22-race commitment from Alliance Truck Parts and by a seven-race primary sponsorship from automotive and industrial supply business WURTH Group. It will be WURTH's first involvement in North American motorsport, following on from 30 years of sponsorship of European competition including F1 and DTM.

"We are really excited to bring WURTH into the NASCAR Nationwide Series," said Hornish. "I am grateful that they have joined our team because it is their support that makes it possible for us to run for the championship this year.

"We know that they will be a great partner to Penske Racing."

Richard Petty Motorsports put Michael Annett into Nationwide

Richard Petty Motorsports has formed a new Nationwide Series team in order to back Michael Annett for a shot at the 2012 championship.

"To have the chance to race for Richard Petty and to be under the RPM umbrella is amazing," said Annett. "This is the best opportunity I have ever had to race a Nationwide Series car. There's a lot to be done before we get to Daytona in a few weeks and I can't wait to dive in and get started."

Annett was left without a 2012 ride when his former team, Rusty Wallace Inc., announced that it was shutting down its Nationwide Series activity. Annett finished in ninth position in the Nationwide standings last year, his best result in three seasons of racing in NASCAR's second-tier championship.

"It has all come together really quickly ... We were left scrambling a bit because of the situation with RWI and were unsure what the future held, but I couldn't be happier with the way things have turned out," admitted Annett. "They say that when one door closes, another door opens, and that is most definitely true."




Related Pictures

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Nationwide Series driver Michael Annett signs an autograph for a fan at Iowa Speedway. [Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR]
NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Sam Hornish Jr. speaking in Michigan [Photo Credit: Courtesy of Michigan International Speedway]
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, races Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, May 3, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. With him are Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS who finished second, and Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet SS who finished in third place. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, waves to fans after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, picks up the victory flag Sunday, May 3, 2015 after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. This was Earnhardt, Jr.`s sixth victory at Talladega. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, and his crew chief, Greg Ives, celebrate in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS Sunday, May 3, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. This was Earnhardt, Jr.`s sixth victory at Talladega. Johnson finished second behind Earnhardt, Jr. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 3, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. This was Earnhardt, Jr.`s sixth victory at Talladega. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 Sponge Bob Square Pants Ford, wreck during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Winn Dixie 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford, Kenny Wallace, driver of the #26 JGL Racing Toyota, Ryan Sieg, driver of the #39 Uncle Bob`s Self Storage Chevrolet, and John Wes Townley, driver of the #25 Zaxby`s Chevrolet, are involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Winn Dixie 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Earnhardt, Jr. is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, qualifies for second position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Kahne is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate and Pole winner Jeff Gordon, driver of the #5 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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