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 NBCSports.com’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.”
Follow me @JerryBonkowski