Hornish fitting in quite well with Richard Petty Motorsports

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It’s not every day that a three-time IndyCar champion and an Indianapolis 500 winner literally falls into your lap.

So when Richard Petty Motorsports learned Sam Hornish Jr. might be available to fill the hole that would be created by the departure of Marcos Ambrose, RPM jumped at the chance to bring Hornish into the fold for 2015.

Hornish, who lost the 2013 Nationwide championship by three points to Austin Dillon while racing for Team Penske, won at Iowa Speedway last May during an eight-race slate in 2014 for Joe Gibbs Racing, but the Defiance, Ohio, native has been trying to return to the Sprint Cup Series since his last full season on NASCAR’s premier circuit with Penske in 2010.

MORE: Sam Hornish Jr. has much to be thankful for: new home, renewed Sprint Cup hopes with Richard Petty Motorsports

When Ambrose announced last summer he would be returning to his native Australia and the V8 Supercar Series after the season, RPM began the search and settled on a deal with Hornish last October.

“Going back to the Cup series, it’s a lot different than what it was when I did it the last time,” Hornish said.

He also made 20 Sprint events for Penske in 2012, replacing AJ Allmendinger after he was suspended for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy.

“I think we have a lot of things to look forward to,” Hornish said Wednesday during the third day of the NASCAR Media Tour in Charlotte. “I think the only thing we’re lacking right now is we need to sit down and really set out a map of what are we going to feel comfortable with throughout the year, what are our goals going to be and figuring out how we’re going to continue to evaluate ourselves to be able to move forward and get to where we want to go.”

Hornish has driven for three of racing’s most iconic names: Roger Penske, Joe Gibbs and now Hall of Famer Richard Petty.

Hornish tested three times with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer late in 2014 before NASCAR’s testing ban took effect.

“The toughest part of this,” Hornish said, “is to have the opportunity to be able to come to Richard Petty Motorsports and then think about it for four months or so before we actually get to go out and do racing.

“With the lack of testing we’ve been able to do, we’ve only had three tests so far and to have the opportunity to work with Drew. We both seem like we want similar things on the race car. When you have a unified direction, you can streamline things at the shop as having the 9 and 43 (teammate Aric Almirola) as far as finding what direction to head and how to make our cars better each weekend.”

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IndyCar results, points after Detroit Grand Prix

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DETROIT — Alex Palou topped the results of an NTT IndyCar Series race for the second time this season, extending his championship points lead with his victory in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who also won the GMR Grand Prix (and the Indy 500 pole position) last month, holds a 51-point lead over teammate Marcus Ericsson (ninth at Detroit) through seven of 17 races this season.

Ganassi, which placed all four of its drivers in the top 10 at Detroit, has three of the top four in the championship standings with Scott Dixon ranked fourth after a fourth at Detroit.

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Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden is third in the standings after taking a 10th at Detroit. Pato O’Ward slipped to fifth in the points after crashing and finishing 26th

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:


RESULTS

Click here for the official box score from the 100-lap race on a nine-turn, 1.645-mile street course in downtown Detroit.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 100, Running
2. (7) Will Power, Chevrolet, 100, Running
3. (9) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 100, Running
4. (4) Scott Dixon, Honda, 100, Running
5. (13) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 100, Running
6. (12) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 100, Running
7. (2) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 100, Running
8. (11) Marcus Armstrong, Honda, 100, Running
9. (6) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 100, Running
10. (5) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 100, Running
11. (24) Colton Herta, Honda, 100, Running
12. (17) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 100, Running
13. (8) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 100, Running
14. (20) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 100, Running
15. (15) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 100, Running
16. (18) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 100, Running
17. (25) Jack Harvey, Honda, 100, Running
18. (14) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 100, Running
19. (23) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 100, Running
20. (19) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 97, Running
21. (22) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 97, Running
22. (26) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 97, Running
23. (21) David Malukas, Honda, 85, Contact
24. (3) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 80, Contact
25. (27) Graham Rahal, Honda, 50, Contact
26. (10) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 41, Contact
27. (16) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 1, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 80.922 mph; Time of Race: 02:01:58.1171; Margin of victory: 1.1843 seconds; Cautions: 7 for 32 laps; Lead changes: 10 among seven drivers. Lap Leaders: Palou 1-28; Power 29-33; O’Ward 34; Palou 35-55; Power 56-64; Palou 65; Rossi 66; Newgarden 67-68; Kirkwood 69; Ericsson 70-76; Palou 77-100.


POINTS

Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix:

Drivers

Entrants

Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 273, Ericsson 222, Newgarden 203, Dixon 194, O’Ward 191, Rossi 176, McLaughlin 175, Power 172, Herta 149, Rosenqvist 148.

Rest of the standings: Grosjean 145, Kirkwood 142, Lundgaard 136, Ilott 116, VeeKay 108, Ferrucci 105, Armstrong 101, Rahal 99, Malukas 91, Daly 88, DeFrancesco 81, Castroneves 80, Harvey 78, Canapino 77, Pagenaud 72, Pedersen 61, Robb 55, Takuma Sato 37, Ed Carpenter 27, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, Tony Kanaan 18, Marco Andretti 13, RC Enerson 5, Katherine Legge 5.

Next race: IndyCar will head to Road America for the Sonsio Grand Prix, which will take place June 18 with coverage starting at 1 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.