Is Hornish on his way out? Though Penske holds an option on his contract for 2011 and has said it wants to keep the driver, Sam Hornish said before practice Friday at Talladega Superspeedway that he has thought about the alternative.
"People say how long do you sit here and hope that they get what they need around it," he said. "They've been good to me, and I'll sit here as long as they want to, but you also have to think about what are your other options, too. Because you can't sit on your hands and hope that everything does work out. If it doesn't, you haven't made the first step forward."
Such is the predicament that Hornish finds himself after the Sprint Cup sponsorship dominoes fell this week and resulted in good news for his Penske Racing teammates.
Kurt Busch will gain sponsorship from Shell/Pennzoil next season, and Brad Keselowski will slide over to the No. 2 Miller Coors-back Dodge that Busch has driven since 2006.
Hornish's sponsor, ExxonMobil, also announced this week it's leaving his No. 77 after 2010. That news didn't come as shock to Hornish, who says Mobil already was eyeing a reduced schedule (of roughly a half-season) if the company had returned.
But in a less-than-robust sponsor climate, it's unsettling even with support from teammates such as Busch, who said Friday "Sam will be a part of Penske Racing. I know that 2011 will be picked up."
"We've invested a lot of time in Sam and he's invested a lot in us," Penske president Tim Cindric said Wednesday on Sirius Satellite Radio. "We'd like to see it through."
Really? Face it, Hornish has been a complete and utter failure in NASCAR and he can't go back to IndyCar because with all the road races (that require talent) on the schedule he will fail there too. He could find himself in the Nationwide Series or the Truck Series as early as 2011, certainly by 2012. In part from USA Today