CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
% Blaney Gets a Start: Penske Racing will run Ryan Blaney in the Nationwide Series race at Phoenix on Nov. 9.
It's a bonus race for Blaney, who thought he was done for the season after his Sept. 21 victory at Kentucky in the No. 22 Ford. It was his second and final scheduled Nationwide race of the year. The Penske organization added Phoenix to Blaney's schedule in a third entry, the No. 43 Ford.
Team owner Roger Penske doesn't know how many more Nationwide races are in Blaney's immediate future. A lack of sponsorship for current Nationwide Series championship leader Sam Hornish Jr. means Penske Racing will likely be down to one full-time Nationwide car next season, so Blaney's opportunities outside of the Truck Series could be limited. Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano currently share one of the Penske Nationwide rides.
"We'll run one car in Nationwide and split that between Brad and Joey and give Blaney some of the races, but not a full season," Penske said. "He'll run the truck, and we'll see what races we can get him."
So where does that leave Hornish? Looking for a job outside of the Penske organization.
"At this point we don't have full sponsorship for a second car for next year, and it's just time for him to go on to the Cup side and hopefully there's something for him to hook into," Penske said. "We'd like to give him the ability to have those options. We've obviously tried to do everything we can to build his confidence and this year shows he's done a really nice job on the Nationwide side."
% Foyt’s Welcome: IndyCar team owner A.J. Foyt will welcome the series to his hometown this weekend as grand marshal for this weekend's Grand Prix of Houston.
It will be Foyt's first race since the June 8 event at Texas Motor Speedway. He had hip replacement surgery on July 1 and has not been at the track since as he spent the summer recovering at his ranch in Texas.
Foyt, a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, will give the command to start the engines, and present the winner of Saturday and Sunday's races with the A.J. Foyt Trophy — a resin cowboy boot featuring his autograph that is mounted on a marble base.
"A.J. Foyt is arguably the greatest race car driver of all time and without question is the greatest Texan to ever get behind the wheel," said Austin Crossley, managing director of the Grand Prix of Houston. "(His) career began right here in Houston and continues here today, so it is only natural that we honor him."