Hornish 'Super-Excited' after Win

Sam Hornish Jr has taken the lead in the 2005 Indy Racing League championship standings after a win he regards as a 'pleasant surprise'

Hornish 'Super-Excited' after Win

Hornish, whose last victory came 13 months ago, won the XM Satellite Radio 200 at the Phoenix International Speedway, leading Penske teammate Helio Castronevers to a 1-2 finish. But he admitted the result, as well as his second place in the previous round in Homestead, was not something he anticipated.

"It's been a tough road over the last year," said Hornish after today's race. "Just every time we thought we were going to turn the corner, something else would happen. So these last two races have been a real pleasant surprise.

"I just tried to stay out of trouble, make it to the end of both of these races. The goal this year for me is just to finish every lap because these races are so competitive. The championship gets so competitive that you need to do things, extraordinary things, like have 15 top-5s and all that kind of good stuff."

Hornish nevertheless commended his car's performance. "We knew we could be a little bit quicker," he said. "The car was handling great. We were running just as fast at the end of the run as we were at the beginning. So we were super-excited about that."

Hornish and his teammate Castronevers held an exciting battle between them today, with the two running almost wheel to wheel for two laps, following a caution period. In the end, though, Hornish got the better of Castronevers.

"That was incredible," said Castroneves, who had led 25 laps of today's race. "Thank God the weather held up, and the car seems to be holding fantastic. I could go high, I could go low and I could go anywhere.

"Sam and I were so equal. We've been working together. I think it shows up today as a great result. Good finishes, good battle."

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Hornish Leads Penske 1-2 in Phoenix
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