Hornish cherishes image on Borg-Warner Trophy
After winning 18 IndyCar Series races and three series championships, Sam Hornish Jr.'s trophy case is getting a little crowded these days.
But the hardware he received Jan. 9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum will find a prominent place in his collection.
Hornish returned to the Speedway to receive his 2006 Indianapolis 500 Champion of Champions winner's ring from IMS CEO Tony George and to unveil his likeness on the famed Borg-Warner Trophy, which features the visage of every Indianapolis 500-Mile Race winner sculpted in sterling silver.
Almost immediately after George handed the diamond-studded ring to Hornish, he put it on his right ring finger. It clearly was a moment Hornish had been waiting for.
"You get a ring for starting the race (500) and championship rings, and I've been able to rack up a couple of those, and now this," he said. "They're all things that are very neat to have, and I enjoy having. A big part of my life is under glass there (in the trophy case). This will find a good spot, but it will get worn more than the rest of them."
Hornish's likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy also received his approval.
"I've never seen myself in silver," he said. "I think the eyes are the best part of it, and they did a pretty good job of capturing the hair and sideburns, so it looks good to me. The only thing better than that (sculpture) is one beside it. We'll see if we can do that again in 2007. Of course, we have a lot to live up to, but we wouldn't know what to do if it was going to be easy."
More than seven months have passed since Hornish earned his first Indianapolis 500 victory in one of the most stunning finishes in race history. Driving the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, Hornish overcame a disastrous Lap 150 pit stop in which he left his pit with the fuel nozzle attached, and a subsequent penalty, to edge rookie Marco Andretti.
Hornish passed Andretti on the front straightaway on the last lap, only a few hundred feet from the checkered flag. The margin of victory was .0635 of a second, the second-closest finish in "500" history.
Hornish said he and wife, Crystal, spent much of the holiday season relaxing at home in northwest Ohio and spending time with friends, but an unexpected phone call from team owner Roger Penske on Christmas Eve was a highlight of the year.
"He's a great guy; he called me up on Christmas Eve and thanked me for giving him his Christmas present back in May," Hornish said. "He said it was the best present he got all year. I told him it was a pretty good present for me, too, and hopefully we'll get one another the same things next year."