Petty, Hornish Jr. comment on parting ways

Photo by Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images
Sam Hornish Jr. addresses the media at Phoenix International Raceway in March 2015.

By Dominic Aragon
November 21, 2015


HOMESTEAD, Fla.—Sam Hornish Jr.’s departure from Richard Petty Motorsports at season’s end became known last week, but the decision had been made weeks before, according to team owner Richard Petty.

Hornish Jr. is set to make his final Sprint Cup Series start this Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Richard Petty Motorsports. Petty couldn’t recall an exact date, but estimated when the verdict was reached to vacate Hornish Jr. from the No. 9.

“Probably two-thirds of the way through the season,” he said. “I don’t even know what race it was, but we sat down and started talking to different sponsors and stuff, and so we had to make a decision and we had to give Sam enough time also that we didn’t just cut him off at the end of the race down here Sunday and say, ‘Thank you, but we won’t see you next year.’”

In 35 starts this season, Hornish Jr. has finished inside the top-ten three times and currently sits 25th in driver points.

Photo by Benjamin Palmer/
Sam Hornish Jr. turns laps at Phoenix International Raceway in March 2015.

Petty talked with 
The Racing Experts about Hornish Jr.’s reaction on not being in the seat next season.

“I think, overall, it was really well accepted,” he said. “I think in his own mind, him and our team is not gelling where he could do what he wants to do. He don’t want to ride around in the back all the time anyway. But, circumstances [are] just not getting him where he needs to be or where I think he could be.”

Hornish Jr. will be starting 28th in his final race with RPM and his first race at the track since 2012. 

“I felt like our car wasn’t that good in practice, but it in qualifying, it showed signs of being a little bit better,” he said. 

Hornish Jr. gave his take on being notified he wouldn’t return to the driver’s seat next season.

“What I was told, probably back around Bristol time, was that they didn’t have the money, and that they were still working hard on sponsors and trying to figure out where they wanted to be,” he said. “They told me I was doing everything they wanted me to do, just didn’t know how that was all going to play out.

Photo by Jeremy Thompson/
Sam Hornish Jr. turns laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“I can accept that and move forward. I feel like, in a lot of ways, I’ve got a lot of positives going forward for next year, regardless of what I end up doing.”

Formal racing plans in 2016 have yet to be announced for Hornish Jr. The 36-year-old said nothing is finalized for next season.

“I don’t have anything nailed down yet, but it’ll be interesting,” he said. “…I’m definitely going to try and put myself in something that is competitive, no matter what it is. 

“I took an opportunity to try to get back in the Cup Series; I knew that it was going to be difficult and I knew that they didn’t have the sponsors that they really needed, but it was kind of one of those things where I felt like if you don’t take the opportunity, then you never know.

Where will Sam Hornish Jr. be primarily racing in 2016?
Sprint Cup Series
Xfinity Series
Camping World Truck Series
Other/Not racing
Poll Maker