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Sam Hornish Jr. finally wins a NASCAR race

It's going to snow in Phoenix
Saturday, November 12, 2011

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Sam Hornish Jr.
Getty Images for NASCAR

It's going to snow in Phoenix.  Sam Hornish Jr. cruised to his first Nationwide Series victory Saturday as Elliott Sadler’s championship hopes crumbled behind him.

Taking the lead after a two-tire stop on Lap 131 put him on the front row, Hornish held off teammate Brad Keselowski to win the Wypall 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Carl Edwards ran third, followed by Joey Logano and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who all but locked up his first series championship with one race left.

The victory was Hornish’s first in NASCAR racing, but the driver of the No. 12 Dodge scored two IndyCar Series wins at the one-mile track. In fact, Hornish got his first victory in the open-wheel series at Phoenix in March 2001.

"It feels great to be able to race Brad and Carl there at the end," said Hornish, who has been driving part time in the Nationwide Series this season. "I’m just so happy. These guys have all worked so hard. We’ve been on and off all year long. It’s been a tough year for us for a lot of different reasons.

"Every 10 years, I guess, I get to come to victory lane here for the first time in a different kind of car, so it’s pretty special."

Sadler, who entered the race 17 points behind Stenhouse, saw his championship hopes disappear on Lap 175. After cutting across the backstretch dogleg, Sadler moved back up the track well clear of Jason Leffler and polesitter Aric Almirola, who were racing side-by-side.

Sadler's wrecked car
Getty Images for NASCAR
At the entrance to Turn 3, a tap from Leffler’s Chevrolet spun Sadler, whose No. 2 Chevrolet slammed into the outside wall, collecting Almirola in the process. Morgan Shepherd’s Chevrolet was destroyed when the 70-year-old driver got up into the marbles trying to avoid the wreck. Sadler finished 27th and trails Stenhouse by 41 points.

"I’m sure that the video shows that the 38 (Leffler) just ran right into the back of us," Sadler said. "Not much respect for guys running for the championship. It’s very frustrating. You work all season long to put yourself in a situation, and it all goes away in a split second."

Leffler accepted responsibility for the wreck.

"I was racing Aric, but I take full responsibility," Leffler said. "I ran right into the back of him. It wasn’t on purpose. It was a mistake on my part. I feel bad for him and his guys. When a guy slides across like that, it kills all the momentum. He’s a good driver, a smart driver, so obviously he lifted early to keep from blowing the corner.

"I was racing Aric and just made a mistake. It’s all my fault. That’s the last thing I wanted to do to Elliott and his guys."

Danica Patrick spins and hits the wall
Getty Images for NASCAR
The race was less than a lap old when an eight-car wreck in Turn 3 ruined Danica Patrick’s day. Patrick backed into the outside wall and lost three laps to Almirola, who led the first 66 laps, as her car was being repaired. She finished 21st.

Almirola surrendered the top spot to Stenhouse on Lap 67. Stenhouse pulled out to a lead of more than two seconds before caution for D.J. Kennington’s collision with the Turn 2 wall on Lap 84 bunched the field.

Stenhouse stayed out front after pit stops and again pulled away after a restart on Lap 91. Keselowski passed Almirola for the second spot on Lap 107 but couldn’t close significantly on Stenhouse, who maintained an advantage of approximately three seconds as the top two cars worked traffic.

A violent wreck on Lap 130 involving Derrike Cope and Mike Bliss brought out the fourth yellow. Stenhouse was first off pit road under the yellow, and Sadler gained eight positions with a two-tire stop. He restarted fifth behind Stenhouse, Hornish, Keselowski and Logano when the field took the green flag on Lap 140.

Hornish powered around Stenhouse to the outside to take the lead, but the race was yellow-flagged for the fifth time on Lap 143 when contact from Steve Wallace’s Toyota sent James Buescher’s Chevrolet spinning into the frontstretch wall.

After the restart on Lap 151, Hornish opened a margin of more than a second over Keselowski, who surged from sixth to second in the space of two laps and then began to close on his Penske Racing teammate.

Results

FIN ST CAR DRIVER MAKE SPONSOR PTS/BNS LAPS STATUS
1 5 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Alliance Truck Parts 47/4 200 Running
2 10 22 Brad Keselowski Dodge Discount Tire 0 200 Running
3 2 60 Carl Edwards Ford World Financial Group 0 200 Running
4 9 18 Joey Logano Toyota GameStop 0 200 Running
5 11 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Ford. Drive one. 41/2 200 Running
6 3 16 Trevor Bayne Ford Air Hogs 38/0 200 Running
7 4 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Rheem Heating, Cooling & Water Heating 0 200 Running
8 8 20 Ryan Truex * Toyota Martin Truex Jr. Foundation 36/0 200 Running
9 7 31 Justin Allgaier Chevrolet Brandt / Monterey AgResources 35/0 200 Running
10 19 62 Michael Annett Toyota Oakley / Pilot Flying J 34/0 200 Running
11 20 70 David Stremme Chevrolet Foretravel Motorcoach 0 200 Running
12 14 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves 32/0 200 Running
13 42 32 Ron Hornaday Chevrolet Dollar General 0 200 Running
14 13 81 Blake Koch * Dodge Daystar.com 30/0 200 Running
15 27 134 Ricky Carmichael Chevrolet Monster Energy 0 200 Running
16 36 01 Mike Wallace Chevrolet I Hate Steven Singer 28/0 199 Running
17 12 09 Kenny Wallace Toyota Toyota 27/0 197 Running
18 35 15 Timmy Hill * Ford Poynt / Lilly Trucking of Virginia 26/0 197 Running
19 38 14 Eric McClure Chevrolet Hefty BlackOut / Reynolds 25/0 197 Running
20 37 52 Kevin Lepage Chevrolet Tilted Kilt Sports Bar 24/0 197 Running
21 25 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 23/0 196 Running
22 30 23 Robert Richardson Jr. Chevrolet North Texas Pipe 22/0 195 Running
23 40 40 T.J. Duke Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 21/0 191 Running
24 39 51 Jeremy Clements Chevrolet Phoenix Automotive Cores 20/0 176 Accident
25 1 88 Aric Almirola Chevrolet Suave Men 20/1 174 Accident
26 18 38 Jason Leffler Chevrolet Great Clips 18/0 174 Accident
27 6 2 Elliott Sadler Chevrolet OneMain Financial 17/0 174 Accident
28 21 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet Victory In Jesus 16/0 174 Accident
29 22 66 Steve Wallace Toyota 5-Hour Energy 15/0 174 Running
30 15 30 James Buescher Chevrolet Exide Batteries 0 142 Accident
31 17 19 Mike Bliss Chevrolet Millennium Salon / Spa Software & Element Payment Services 13/0 129 Accident
32 41 28 Derrike Cope Chevrolet Maxelence 12/0 125 Accident
33 34 180 D.J. Kennington Dodge Northern Provincial Pipelines 11/0 82 Accident
34 28 44 Jeff Green Chevrolet TriStar Motorsports 10/0 38 Rear Gear
35 23 182 Reed Sorenson Dodge Foametix / Bullet Liner 9/0 34 Accident
36 26 49 Mark Green Chevrolet Acredale Vending 8/0 15 Brakes
37 16 147 Scott Speed Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 7/0 6 Brakes
38 43 146 Chase Miller Chevrolet Curtis Key Plumbing 6/0 6 Rear Gear
39 29 171 Matthew Carter Chevrolet Rick Ware Racing 5/0 2 Vibration
40 33 141 Johnny Chapman Chevrolet Rick Ware Racing 4/0 1 Accident
41 24 11 Brian Scott Toyota Shore Lodge 3/0 0 Accident
42 32 39 Matt Frahm Ford TSP Powder Coating 2/0 0 Accident
43 31 104 Tim Andrews Ford Go Green Racing 1/0 0 Accident

* Denotes Rookie

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