JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Sam Hornish Jr. has been coming to Indianapolis for a long time. His mother went to the Indianapolis 500 when she was eight months pregnant.
This could be another special visit.
NASCAR makes its annual stop at one of racing's most historic tracks this weekend, with Hornish returning to town as the leader of the Nationwide Series. He finished second at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, wresting control of NASCAR's second-tier circuit from Regan Smith.
"When we looked at what the day could bring, we felt like if we just continued to go out there and run the way that we have, we're going to have good days," Hornish said.
There could be more good days to come.
Hornish had the best car for the STP 300, winning the pole and leading the first 49 laps of the race. But a penalty for speeding into pit road sent him to the back of the field, and he wasn't quite able to run down Penske teammate Joey Logano at the very end, finishing second.
Logano's 20th career Nationwide victory also came at an important time for the lone Sprint Cup regular in the field on Sunday. A pair of wrecks for the 23-year-old Logano led to disappointing results at New Hampshire and Daytona, and the Chicagoland win put a stop to that negative run.
"The last two weeks haven't gone great on the Sprint Cup side, with two tire failures," Logano said. "So to get back out and get back to Victory Lane, it builds the momentum back up. It's a big deal for next week going to Indy."
Logano has made five career starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway between NASCAR's top two circuits. He has no wins and two top 10s, but the relative lack of success hasn't diminished the appeal of the track for the driver.
"I love going to Indy, because it's Indianapolis, and it's cool," said Logano, who will compete in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races this weekend. "I'm pumped up about going there and trying to get a win."
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