Hornish Joins JGR's Nationwide Program

Sam Hornish Jr.

Sam Hornish Jr. will share the No. 54 Nationwide ride at Joe Gibbs Racing with Kyle Busch this season, driving seven races. (Photo: Getty Images)

Joe Gibbs Racing has signed driver Sam Hornish, Jr. to drive the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota in seven NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2014, the team announced Monday.

The No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota will run the full season for JGR with crew chief Adam Stevens returning. Kyle Busch will return to pilot the Camry in 26 races, while Hornish will fill the driver’s seat in the remaining seven races.

Hornish’s first race behind the wheel of the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota will be May 3 at Talladega Superspeedway. He also will race both Iowa Speedway events, Road America, Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, Mid-Ohio, and Kentucky Speedway on September 20.

“I’m excited about driving the No. 54 Monster Energy car this year,” Hornish said in a statement from the team. “It’s the best possible situation for me to jump into great equipment and have the opportunity to go right out and win. After working with Penske for 10 years and now to have the opportunity to partner with Joe Gibbs Racing, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

“To partner with Kyle, and all this team provides, with the support of Joe and J.D. (Gibbs), it provides me with everything I need to succeed.”

Said J.D. Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing: “We’re excited to have someone of Sam’s caliber joining Kyle behind the wheel of the Monster Energy Camry this year. We lost out on the owner’s championship by just one point last year so our focus will be on trying to get that title back in 2014.”

Hornish has spent the past two seasons driving the No. 12 car for Penske Racing in the Nationwide Series. Last season he recorded one win, 16 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes. He also won four pole awards. In 99 career starts, Hornish has two wins, 28 top-five and 53 top-10 finishes. He also has made 130 career NASCAR Sprint Cup starts.

“This year will be fun with Sam and me behind the wheel of our Monster Energy Camry,” Kyle Busch said in a statement from the team. “Last year we lost the chance for another owner’s championship by a slim margin and I think you can expect a close battle again this season. Having an experienced guy in there to fill the role on a regular basis when I’m not there, gives Adam the opportunity for real consistency. Sam was a strong competitor last year and I look forward to having him on our side this season.”

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