While Sam Hornish Jr. continues to “audition” for a full-time Sprint Cup ride, he’s keeping his profile out front – literally – in the Nationwide Series.
Hornish drove a Penske Racing Dodge to the pole position with a speed of 122.454 miles per hour Saturday morning for Saturday afternoon’s Zippo 200 Nationwide race at Watkins Glen International.
Hornish, 33, has been a fill-in driver in Penske Racing’s No. 22 Sprint Cup car since former driver AJ Allmendinger was suspended by NASCAR for failing a drug test. Hornish is among the drivers being considered for that ride for next season.
Saturday’s pole was a career first for Hornish, who is fourth in Nationwide points. The race will be his 54th in the series.
Following Hornish in the top five as Nationwide drivers qualified in groups were Carl Edwards, Paul Menard, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch.
In the second five were Joey Logano, point leader Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, Brian Scott and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.