NASCAR allows Penske to swap owner points between Busch and Hornish

NASCAR has approved Penske Racing's request to transfer the owner points from Kurt Busch to [highly over-rated] Sam Hornish Jr., a move that locks the three-time IndyCar Series champion into the first five races of next season.

Hornish publicly thanked Busch for giving him the points at the Penske holiday party on Friday night. Bud Denker, senior vice president of Penske Corp., confirmed Saturday that the team would swap the points with NASCAR's approval.

Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said the sanctioning body had signed off on the transfer.

"This would obviously help Sam as he prepares to run the first five races instead of prepares to qualify for the first five races," Denker said. "With a champion like Kurt Busch and the opportunity to utilize (the points), anyone would be foolish to not take care of the situation."

Hornish, a former Indianapolis 500 winner, is leaving that series for NASCAR next season. But his No. 77 Dodge won't be one of the 35 cars locked into the first five races of the year. As the 2004 series champion, Busch has a provisional position that he could fall back on should he fail to qualify on speed.

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