INDIANAPOLIS — It seems like ages ago that Sam Hornish Jr. was the king of his world.
He had won championships by inches — literally — and tiebreakers. He made up a seemingly-insurmountable gap in the last lap to pull off one of the most dramatic Indianapolis 500 victories in history.
And seemingly, that was the last we had heard from him until he was sprinting off a helicopter to race Roger Penske’s stock car at Daytona, making a grand entrance thanks to a late suspension.
In the meantime, he has had his share of struggles, stepped back in his career, and has very quietly been putting together a renewal in his career in stock cars.
The helicopter race — where he publicly replaced A.J. Allmendinger after the latter was suspended for failing a drug test — might have reintroduced the world to Sam Hornish Jr.
But this weekend showed what he’s quietly been doing behind the scenes — and was a coming-out party at the scene of his greatest career achievement, coming from way behind to pass Marco Andretti a few yards shy of the finish and win the 2006 Indianapolis 500.
There he was on Saturday, emerging from a field full of big names, dicing with fellow Penske driver Brad Keselowski for the lead at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Indiana 250. Hornish eventually finished second to his teammate — and lamented it, saying “there’s always next week, but there’s never a chance to win the inaugural Nationwide race again.”
He didn’t see another Andretti in his teammate, though.