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Hornish strong again, finishes second in Montreal

Associated Press Published: August 18, 2012
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MONTREAL (AP) — Sam Hornish Jr. is starting to get the hang of this stock car stuff.

In his first stock car start at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday, Hornish, who qualified second, finished second to Justin Allgaier and ahead of former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve in a wild road race at the 14-turn, 2.7-mile layout.

"I'm happy we finished second and that we came back, but I felt like there was some more in it," Hornish said. "We're going to get some wins. We just keep finishing second and third like we have been and I feel like we're going to get there. It's just a matter of time."

A former open-wheel star, Hornish won 19 races, had 10 poles and captured three IndyCar championships in eight seasons before making the switch to NASCAR. He struggled through three full Sprint Cup seasons and spent most of last year out of the car, running only one Cup event and 13 Nationwide races.

This season Roger Penske has Hornish, who just turned 33, running a full Nationwide schedule, and now he's in the No.22 Cup car that was left vacant when AJ Allmendinger was suspended.

Consistency has been a key for Hornish in Nationwide — he had completed all but two of the 3,652 laps run before Saturday. In his previous five races, he finished fourth, eighth, second, and third twice to zoom to third in the points standings, within 24 of leader Elliott Sadler prior to Saturday's NAPA 200.

He left Montreal tied for second with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 22 points behind Sadler.

"To come up and run with a Formula One champion, I feel pretty good about what I'm doing," Hornish said before heading to Michigan for Sunday's Sprint Cup race.

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GANASSI'S ROLEX RULERS: Scott Pruett passed Ryan Dalziel for the lead midway through the two-hour Grand-Am Rolex Series sports car race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday and piloted the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley Daytona Prototype to the victory, increasing the series lead he and co-driver Memo Rojas hold over Dalziel.

It was the 150th triumph across NASCAR, open wheel and Grand-Am for team owner Chip Ganassi, and the reigning series champions were happy to get it. Juan Pablo Montoya won the pole last week at Watkins Glen in the Sprint Cup series and was hoping to get that signature win for his owner before suffering front end problems.

"It's nice to be able to pull out that 150th for a spectacular organization," Pruett said.

It was Pruett's 38th career win and boosted the team's lead over Dalziel to 18 points with two races left in the season.

"Our car was good and stayed consistent," Pruett said. "We hadn't had a car this good all season. It's been a dogfight all season long. It's been exciting and a little nerve-wracking for the drivers."

Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty finished second in the No. 99 Corvette DP, and David Donohue and former open-wheel star Paul Tracy of Canada were third in the No. 5 Corvette, recovering nicely after a spin on the first turn of the race.

"It feels great," Tracy said. "It's been so long since I've been in a competitive car. We were challenging for second place at the end. I was just trying to get into the first corner (at the start) and the 90 car (Michael Valiante) spun around and got into me. We kind of dug ourselves a hole."

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TAGLIANI'S BUSY DAY: Alex Tagliani, a regular driver for Team Barracuda in the IZOD IndyCar series, was supposed to be in China this weekend, but the event was canceled in late June. He managed to become a very busy man anyhow.

The veteran from Lachenaie, Quebec, who put his No. 30 Chevrolet on pole for the NASCAR Nationwide race, led that race late and finished 27th after being spun out by Jacques Villeneuve.

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