Commentary

New week offers renewed hope (and new golf cart!) for Hornish

It's been a "woulda, coulda, shoulda" kind of year for Sam Hornish Jr., he writes in his weekly Sprint Cup diary.

Updated: May 1, 2008, 4:00 PM ET
By Sam Hornish Jr. | Special to ESPN.com

I think this is a good week to talk about racing, because racing at Talladega can kind of show how -- I don't know if I should say "cruel" -- but we thought we had a good weekend to go in and do well. For 70 laps or whatever it was, we ran in the top 10 quite a bit and thought we were going to finish well. As opposed to Daytona, we had people willing to work with us this time. But we had tires that had some vibration. I should have come in and got another set of tires, but we took two, thinking it was left sides, then the right front blew out. We were two laps down, there were enough yellows to get back in there, and then we had an engine problem.

The dominoes were set going in one direction, and we were trying to turn them the other way.

Now we're going to Richmond, and in retrospect, it's a place I really struggled at last year in the Busch race. The good thing about it this weekend is we get to run the Nationwide race, and hopefully we'll get a lot more in than 15 laps like we did last year. It's all about making sure we get toward the end of the race. I've had a lot of success at Richmond in the Indy car, and you would think at some point some of that would transfer over. I'm excited about going there.

We really need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot. It's "woulda, coulda, shoulda" with our performance. If we could take away some of the things that weren't our fault, we'd probably be in the top 25. I do feel there's a lot of positive going on, and we'll turn the corner soon.

I'm very focused about what we're doing. It's hard not to think about it all the time. But off the track I'm pretty happy. We've got a lot on our plate getting another house done in Mooresville and having a new baby, but those, obviously, are good things. There are a lot of people who don't have the ability to have two houses, and that's a blessing. We got back from Mexico City, and there was an issue with an upstairs toilet. The whole ceiling had to be redone, and you stand back, you look at it, and you realize it's not the worst thing that could have happened.

On Monday, I went and looked at golf carts to have one at the track. The guy told me you have to have the seats in the back, but I asked him, "What if I want to convert it back to a regular golf cart?" I said, "If I get fired, I might want to go golfing." And he said, "Oh, OK, Mr. Negative." But I know there's a chance I could get fired before I think about retiring. I'm a pretty realistic person. We'd love the on-track stuff to be going better, but if we're depressed about it, it will never turn around. As long as I'm working hard and trying my best, team owner Roger Penske is not going to be disappointed. The people at Mobil 1, my sponsor, have been very supportive. They've been great so far. So have the guys on the team. They feel they've let me down at times, and I feel I've let them down.

But back to the cart. I did order one. He said I should get the extra seats and the special gears so you can go faster. I told him I really didn't care about that, but he said if we don't put them in, everyone is going to be passing me. I did get a radio and CD player, and he asked me why I needed that. I told him, if you're going to get passed, you'd better sound good. If you look at the golf carts around the garage, they're all jacked up. I've been using Roger's at the track, but his broke down last weekend. I was looking into it to see what was wrong when somebody walked by and said, "Hopefully this isn't a sign of things to come." But it was.

Sam Hornish Jr., 28, drives the No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger. He will take ESPN.com readers inside his life on and off the track each week with the help of writer Angelique S. Chengelis.

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