Hornish officially dropping IRL for NASCAR in 2008

When not watching racing buddy Helio Castroneves waltzing for his life on ABC's hit show Dancing with the Stars, Sam Hornish Jr. can be found in all manner of racing cars. Considered one of the Indy Racing League's star drivers, Hornish Jr. also carries around the accolade of being last year's Indianapolis 500. After eight seasons of racing IndyCar, however, Hornish Jr. will be be jumping ship and joining fellow Indy-defects and former Indy 500 winners Dario Franchitti, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve in the 2008 season of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. He'll be driving the No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge for Penske Racing with Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman as teammates.

Hornish Jr. has actually already made his NASCAR debut. Last year he began racing in the NASCAR Busch Series, competing in nine races and finishing as high as 15th. He's attempted to qualify for a Nextel Cup race six times in the past, but hasn't been fast enough. Hornish Jr. will make one last attempt to qualify for a Nextel Cup race this weekend at Phoenix before officially being announced as Penske's third driver.

[Source: Autosport.com, Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty]

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