This driver change was my gut reaction for the replacement when Marcos Ambrose announced he was leaving NASCAR and returning to Australia.
Several sources are now confirming that Sam Hornish Jr. will return to the Sprint Cup series in 2015 full-time as Marcos Ambrose’s replacement in the No. 9 Ford.
Hornish has had an up and down career in NASCAR. Previously, Hornish had raced for Team Penske in NASCAR’s top level series, but struggled with only eight top-ten finishes over the course of three seasons.
Last year, Hornish finished second in the Nationwide series to Austin Dillon, but dried up sponsorship for 2014 left the runner-up without a ride.
While searching for a full-time racing opportunity, he has been driving the No. 54 Toyota in the Nationwide series when Kyle Busch is not in the driver’s seat. Hornish has shown moments of success in his 2014 stint. In eight starts in the No. 54, he’s had one win, and four top 5’s.
His return to Sprint Cup will likely be further proving ground for him to justify his seat. Driving for Richard Petty Motorsports will mean he’s again behind the wheel of a Ford. Previously, in the Cup series, Hornish drove for Penske, who at the time was Dodge-power, while his ride this year in Nationwide is Toyota-powered for Joe Gibbs Racing.