Commentary

The tire meltdown at Indy not as bad as it seemed

The tire situation at Indy wasn't ideal, but Sam Hornish Jr. had a blast running -- and passing cars -- under the green, he writes in his diary.

Updated: July 31, 2008, 3:35 PM ET
By Sam Hornish Jr. | Special to ESPN.com

I guess the way I look at the Brickyard 400, obviously, it wasn't optimal, but there was a lot more passing and a lot more lead changes, believe it or not, at Indy. Yeah, it wasn't the greatest thing, but there were a lot of short sprints, and the pit crew was really brought into it. You had to pace yourself and make sure your tires lasted. We don't want to race like that, but there were some positives. I passed, like, 80 cars, and I actually had fun running under green. I know it could have been better for the fans, but I don't think it was as bad as it's been painted to be.

It's different going for the Cup race instead of the Indianapolis 500, for sure. It was really nice that a lot of people at the track were happy to see me, and they were saying they were happy to see me -- that made me feel good. I've spent quite a bit of time there, over eight months of my life racing. It's always nice to go to Indianapolis. And you know, I've been there before with tire issues, like when the IndyCars were limited to a number of tires, so we had to conserve. A lot of things made last weekend's race feel like home, I guess.

I did go visit the museum at the speedway. My Indy 500-winning car is in Roger Penske's museum in Scottsdale, Ariz., but they have one of my Panther cars from 2001-2002 in the Indy museum. It's cool to see a lot of the past roadsters. It was the first time I got to see my picture on the winners' wall, the east wall of the museum. I think it probably looked too good to be me. I enjoyed going back and seeing that stuff because, first of all, I'm a fan, so to go to the museum and see A.J. Foyt's four-time winning car and the Borg-Warner trophy, especially with my name on it, that's pretty cool.

My teammate Ryan Newman is leaving the team after this season, and we're all moving forward the best we can and being the best we can be. We all continue to work together, and we're trying to make the most out of this year. Ryan has been really helpful with me. He's been trying to help me understand things. I'm definitely not mad at him. I understand that people sometimes have to move on and change.

Kurt Busch and I have worked better together since all that news came out. I don't know of anybody I want them to hire. Nobody has said a whole lot to me about what they're looking for. I know it's not going to be the easiest thing to do to find somebody to replace Ryan.

We tested at Road Atlanta on Tuesday, like a lot of other teams did, to get ready for Watkins Glen, and it went OK. They had quite a bit more cars than expected, so there were a lot of delays, and we didn't get the amount of laps we wanted. We just needed to get on the road course, try some things and hope to be ready for Watkins Glen.

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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