Sam Hornish is feeling confident of being able to finally qualify for his Nextel Cup debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend, a track he has already raced before in a stock car.
The former IRL IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 champion has failed to qualify for the five Nextel Cup races he has been entered in the No.06 Penske Dodge thus far at New Hampshire, Dover, Talladega, Charlotte and Martinsville.
Last weekend he was bumped out of the field in the last minute, but he believes track knowledge may help his cause this time, as he has already competed at Atlanta in the past when he raced in the Busch Series event in March of this year.
"I feel good about going to Atlanta," said Hornish. "It's the first track that I've actually been to before. So, hopefully, that'll work out for us.
"We were close last week. We made it in on time, but we were bumped out by a championship provisional. It's still a learning process, but I'm the most confident I've been all year going into this weekend."
Crew chief Ryan McCauley will be once again leading Hornish's effort. Knowing that his driver qualified fifth for the Busch Series race, and remembering his performance in the event, he feels confident enough to back up Hornish's optimism.
"I think Sam's got a good shot to do well this weekend," McCauley said "In the spring Busch race, he was two laps down and got it back to finish 15th, the highest non-Cup driver to finish on the lead lap. His experience on the track will definitely help."
Hornish, who has been committed to a switch to NASCAR for some time now, still has to make his 2008 plans official.