Report: Sam Hornish Jr. talking with Wood Brothers about part-time Cup ride in 2015


With Trevor Bayne being called up to NASCAR’s major leagues by Roush Fenway Racing to race full-time in the Sprint Cup Series in 2015, that leaves the legendary Wood Brothers without a driver.

Might Bayne’s replacement be NASCAR and IndyCar veteran Sam Hornish Jr.?

“We may see Sam Hornish Jr. in the Cup Series next year,” Bob Dillner reported on Fox Sports 1’s NASCAR RaceDay on Sunday morning. “I’m told he’s in negotiation with the Wood Brothers to come back on a part-time basis (in Cup) next year.”

Hornish, who turns 36 on July 2, is racing a part-time schedule on the Nationwide Series this season for Joe Gibbs Racing. In two starts thus far, he won at Iowa on May 18 and was fifth the race before that at Talladega.

He also made one start earlier this year in the Cup series, replacing the injured Denny Hamlin (eye infection) at Fontana, where he started 13th and finished 17th.

Prior to joining JGR this season, Hornish spent six-plus seasons with Team Penske on both the Cup and Nationwide circuits.

In 130 Cup starts with Team Penske, Hornish had no wins and just three top-five finishes. In 99 NNS starts with the organization, he earned two wins and had 28 top-five showings.

Prior to coming to NASCAR, Hornish spent seven-plus seasons in the IndyCar Series, earning three championships and a win in the 2006 Indianapolis 500.

In 116 IndyCar starts, Hornish earned 19 wins and 47 top-five finishes.

In an interview earlier this year with’s MotorSportsTalk, Hornish said he likely will never return to the IndyCar Series, casting his fate long-term in NASCAR.

The last time I had serious thoughts about it was in 2011,” Hornish said. “That ended after about the fifth lap at the Las Vegas race (when his friend Dan Wheldon was killed in a horrific wreck) and I haven’t thought much about it since then.”

Plus, there’d be very little to gain for Hornish to return to IndyCar.

“I feel like I accomplished everything I wanted to over there,” Hornish said. “There was a reason I left. The reason wasn’t monetary, it was a challenge (in NASCAR). Yeah, there might be more of a challenge going back there now because I’ve been out of it for seven years.

I just feel like what would be the point to where you could possibly tarnish a career that you won in almost 20 percent of the events you ran and won half the full-time championships that you ran when you focused on it. And then you look at the safety fact of it, too.

I got a lot of people that I need to take care of in my life, and racing in general for me is probably a little bit of a selfish thing because I probably don’t need to do it, but I want to. So, I have to sit back and think about as far as my family life goes, everything worked out exactly the way it needed to for this year.”

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Reaction to INDYCAR/NBC Sports Group announcement: Mario Andretti, Roger Penske, Bobby Rahal and social media

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Like countless others on the East Coast, Mario Andretti was fighting through a snowstorm Wednesday morning.

But emotionally and personally, it was a very bright and sunny day for the legendary Indy car driver.

In an exclusive interview with, Andretti spoke in glowing terms about this morning’s announcement of a multi-year media rights partnership between INDYCAR and NBC Sports Group beginning next year.

“I think this is awesome,” Andretti said. “It’s music to my ears and all of us. NBC has been very familiar with IndyCar racing, so they’re a great partner. I’m elated that it’s all nailed down, secured and I’m looking forward to the future.

“It’s also great for the young lads in Indy Lights coming on, and it’s great for all the sponsors to have that kind of exposure. It’s a good day for INDYCAR today.”

Andretti lauded the fact that all elements of INDYCAR coverage – TV, digital and streaming – will now be under one corporate roof, so to speak.

“Personally, I think it’s huge,” Andretti said. “Everybody is going to be very familiar with everything, the storylines are going to flow perfectly from event to event. There’s nothing like continuity.

“It’s okay sometimes if you have two networks, but to me, the best possible solution is this. That’s why I think this is really a great day for INDYCAR racing to have NBC involved and the continuity is huge for us.”

MORE: NBC Sports Group, INDYCAR partner on new TV and digital rights agreement starting in 2019

MORE: Optimism abounds with new INDYCAR media partnership


Several other high-profile individuals within the IndyCar community also gave their take on Wednesday’s announcement, including statements from team owners Roger Penske and Bobby Rahal.

Roger Penske: “As an industry, we are very fortunate to have the NBC Sports Group grow their presence and coverage of INDYCAR racing and really invest in the future of the sport. We believe there is a great deal of positive momentum in the Verizon IndyCar Series right now, from the development of the new race car, to the very talented group of young drivers and new teams coming into the sport this season.

“With the announcement of the enhanced broadcast partnership with NBC, it certainly adds to the excitement for the future. We know that the ways our fans are watching races and viewing INDYCAR content is rapidly changing, so staying ahead of the curve and the developing technology with our partners is important to the growth of our sport. We look forward to working with the NBC team to continue to build INDYCAR and take the sport in new directions.

“We also need to thank ABC and ESPN for all their terrific coverage over the years. The ABC network helped bring some of the most memorable moments in racing to life – including many of our team’s Indianapolis 500 victories – and we appreciate all of their hard work and passion for INDYCAR racing.”

Bobby Rahal: “It’s great news. I think the fact that the IndyCar Series will be under one roof, so to speak, network-wise can do nothing but great things for our sport. To increase to having eight races on network TV is also great news of course.

“The quality of the NBC broadcasts have gotten better and better over the last several years. They do a great job of providing interesting and entertaining content for the viewers and I think that will only continue to grow with the relationship going forward. That type of storytelling is also what helps bring new fans to the sport.”



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