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Sam Hornish Jr. joins JGR for partial Nationwide schedule

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Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Monday that Sam Hornish Jr. has joined the organization to share driving duties of the No. 54 Toyota with Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Hornish will drive the car in seven races, while Busch, also a regular in the Sprint Cup Series, will drive the No. 54 in the other 26 events. Adam Stevens will be crew chief.

"I'm excited about driving the No. 54 Energy car this year," Hornish said. "It's a great opportunity for me. 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. These are great people -- top notch. 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. It's also a phenomenal opportunity for me to partner with a market leader such as (sponsor) Monster Energy. The brand identity and fan following that goes along with this sponsor is super. I can't wait to get into that car."

Hornish's first race in the No. 54 will be the May 3 race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. He'll also drive the car twice at Iowa Speedway, Road America, Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, Mid-Ohio and at Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 20.

Hornish drove the No. 12 Nationwide Series entry for Penske Racing in both 2013 and 2012. Last season, he finished second in the championship points standings with statistics that included one win, 16 top-fives and 25 top-10 finishes. Overall, he has 99-career starts in Nationwide competition, with a tally of two wins, 28 top-fives and 53 top-10 finishes.

"We're excited to have someone of Sam's caliber joining Kyle behind the wheel of the Monster Energy Camry this year," Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said. "We think we have a great team there with Monster Energy, and Sam will be an outstanding addition. 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."

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