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Hornish Jr.'s Nationwide season continues at Road America

<p>Hornish also competed in last weekend's Nationwide race at Michigan, driving JGR's No. 20 car to a second-place finish.</p>

Hornish also competed in last weekend's Nationwide race at Michigan, driving JGR's No. 20 car to a second-place finish.

"It's been a great start to my scheduled season," Hornish said. "I've had two races in the No. 54 Monster Energy [sponsored] car - a win and a fifth place. Hopefully, we'll keep that up pretty good. I got the bonus of being able to run last weekend in the 20 car, with a second place there [at Michigan]. I'm really happy with the way things have gone. Hopefully, we'll continue to carry that over to the road-course side of it."

After Road America, Hornish is scheduled to drive the No. 54 car at Chicagoland (July 19), Iowa (Aug. 2), Mid-Ohio (Aug. 19), which is also a road course, and Kentucky (Sept. 20).

Hornish drove the No. 12 car for Roger Penske's team in Nationwide full-time from 2012-13. Last year, he finished only three points behind champion Austin Dillon. But at the conclusion of the season, Penske ceased operations with the 12 due to lack of sponsorship. In January, JGR hired Hornish to run a partial schedule in the series this season.

"I'm really proud to be doing this schedule that I'm doing this year," he said. "It's not as much as I would like to be out there on the racetrack, but to be with JGR has been a lot of fun so far. The only thing that's missing is being able to do it every week."

Hornish has a Nationwide career average finish of 8.6 on road courses. He has finished fifth in each of his two starts at Road America (2012 and '13).

"Road America is a great race track, one of the coolest road courses in America," Hornish said. "It's a neat place to race with a lot of history there. My last two times here I finished the same - a strong top-five, but obviously we want more out of it this weekend. I think I can have a really good race with this No. 54 team. I'm really looking forward to it."

On Friday, Hornish posted the fastest lap in final practice. He made a lap around this 4-mile course at 108.189 mph. Brian Scott was second on the charts, with his lap just 0.007 seconds behind Hornish. Alex Tagliani, who is driving the No. 22 car for Penske in this race, was third, followed by Regan Smith, the current points leader, and Brendan Gaughan. The first practice session was called off due to rain.

Smith enters Saturday's 50-lap race at Road America with a 14-point lead over Elliott Sadler and a 20-point advantage over rookie Chase Elliott.

Thirty-eight teams are on the entry list for the Gardner Denver 200.

Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, June 21. Race: Gardner Denver 200. Site: Road America. Track: 4-mile, 14-turn road course. Start time: 2:45 p.m. ET. Laps: 50. Miles: 202.4. 2013 Winner: A.J. Allmendinger. Television: ABC. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.

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