NNS: Musical Chairs; Hornish Returns to Gibbs While McDowell Debuts for Penske

RaceChaser Staff MidSouth, NASCAR 0 Comments

SPARTA, Ky. — official release — Matt Sullivan/Getty Images North America photo — With the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in full swing, many of the competitors that normally pull double duty are taking the weekend off and have opened up some valuable seat time.

The driver probably chomping at the bit the most to get back behind the wheel is Sam Hornish Jr. Hornish has made seven starts posting one win (Iowa Speedway), four top fives, two poles and an average finish of 12.9.

Hornish will be strapped in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Toyota this weekend in Kyle Busch’s stead. Hornish has made four starts at Kentucky posting one Coors Light pole, two top fives and an average finish of 5.2. He finished second in this event in 2012.

Making his series debut for Team Penske this weekend in the owner points leading No. 22 Ford for car owner Roger Penske is Michael McDowell.

McDowell a veteran to the series, but on a limited schedule this season, has made two starts, nearly winning in Iowa (he finished runner-up to Brad Keselowski). Also in McDowell’s favor, the No. 22 swept both races at Kentucky last season bringing Ryan Blaney his first career win.

“We know that Michael (McDowell) is a talented guy that’s shown much speed, and we feel like together we can come out of Kentucky with a strong result”, said No. 22 crew chief Jeremy Bullins.

Through 26 races the owner standings title has primarily been a race between two owners: Roger Penske and Joe Gibbs.

Penske currently leads Gibbs by 15 points heading into Kentucky and is looking to win his second consecutive owner title come Homestead.

Find out if either of the two drivers can score a breakthrough victory Saturday night at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

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