Sam Hornish Jr., winner of the Indianapolis 500, visited the downtown SunTrust branch in Richmond, Virginia today, where he talked about the upcoming SunTrust Indy Challenge Presented by XM Satellite Radio at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, June 24. Hornish, who took the lead just 300 yards from the finish line of one of the most memorable Indianapolis 500 races, is still beaming about the highlight of his tremendously successful career.
"Being able to do something that nobody has done in the previous 89 attempts¿to be able to pass with an actual lead change on the last lap¿is pretty neat and says something about the style that it was done," said Hornish, who is a two-time series champion. "It was a really great race and I look forward to going back next year and seeing if we can win again."
Following a meet and greet and interviews with local and regional media, Hornish took time out of his schedule to sign free autographs for fans who made their way to the SunTrust lobby this afternoon. After his stop in Richmond, Hornish boarded a plane for New York City where he will appear on the "Late Show with David Letterman" tonight.
With five races under their belts, Hornish and the other IndyCar Series drivers are looking forward to the June 24 event "under the lights" at Richmond International Raceway, which seems to be a preferred spot for the Indianapolis 500 winner.
"I have actually paid to watch a race at Richmond International Raceway before," said Hornish, who has a win and three top-five finishes at America's Premier Short Track. "When we get to go out there and race under the lights, it's kind of like the perfect Saturday night."
Richmond International Raceway (0.75-mile) is the only track on the IndyCar Series schedule measured at less than one mile, which makes for racing under very close quarters. Along with many other drivers, Hornish enjoys the side-to-side, wheel-to-wheel battles.
"Racing at Richmond International Raceway is pretty insane most of the time," said Hornish. "It seems like you're always turning. You get out of the turns and the straightaway is about 10 feet long and you start turning again. I love that track. We go almost 180 mph there. It's pretty fast, like when you go to the circus and you see the guy riding the motorcycle inside the barrel. That's what it feels like because you're always whippin' around and turning."
The SunTrust Indy Challenge Presented by XM Satellite Radio will run "under the lights" Saturday, June 24 at Richmond International Raceway. Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti, defending race winner Helio Castroneves, Dan Wheldon, Hornish and the rest of the IndyCar Series return for a night of racing "under the lights." Saturday night's ticket includes a seat for the Richmond Times-Dispatch 100 USAC Silver Crown Championship Series race.
Reserved seats are only $35 and general admission tickets are just $30. The weekend starts Friday, June 23 with WRIC-TV8 Pole Qualifying for the IndyCar Series and the USAC National Sprint Car Series race. Tickets for Friday night are only $15 and include admission to a free autograph session with all IndyCar Series drivers. Children 12 and under are admitted free in general admission seating both nights with a ticketed adult.
Please call 1-866-455-RACE (7223) for tickets.