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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]
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Cameron Hayley, driver of the #13 Cabinets by Hayley/The Carolina Nut Co. Toyota, races with Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on August 30, 2015 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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