Sam Hornish Jr will drive in at least 10 Nationwide Series races this season, according to FoxSports.com. Hornish will drive a Penske Racing entry in series starting with the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Chad Walter will serve as crew chief.
The team originally planned to field three Sprint Cup Series teams with Kurt Busch, Hornish, and Brad Keselowski. But, last year, Penske signed an agreement with Shell Pennzoil to sponsor Busch and the team’s No. 22 Cup car.
In addition to losing Mobil 1, the team also lost Verizon as a sponsor. Verizon left the team’s No. 12 Nationwide Series entry to focus on Penske’s IndyCar program. As a result, driver Justin Allgaier was released from his contract. He signed on to drive with Turner Motorsports.
Verizon also served as a Cup sponsor for Keselowski, though no decals were shown on the car due to an exclusive sponsorship agreement between NASCAR and Sprint. With the loss of Mobil 1 and Verizon, and the moving of Hornish’s other sponsor AAA to Busch for five races this season, Penske struggled to find sponsorship for Hornish.
The team planned to have him drive the first five races of 2011, if sponsorship could be found, because the team finished last season in the top 35 in points, meaning they would be locked into the first five races of the season.
Now, however, it appears sponsorship could not be found and Hornish’s points will be given to Steve Wallace, who will attempt to make his Cup debut in the Daytona 500.