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Racin’ News: Hornish Back In A Cup Car

| , RacinToday.com Tuesday, June 7 2011

Sam Hornish Jr. will climb back into a Cup car this weekend. (File photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)


In racin’ news today, Tuesday, June 7:

In this package: Hornish is back; Geoffrey Bodine to drive;  Fox numbers jump.)

Sam Hornish Jr. will make his 2011 return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Pocono Raceway this weekend, manning the wheel of the No. 38 Long John Silver’s Ford while Travis Kvapil competes in the Camping World Truck Series in Texas.

The three-time IndyCar Champion has 108 Cup races under his belt since making the move to stock-car racing, but this weekend’s event in Long Pond, Pa., will be his first this year.

The 2.5-mile track known as the “Tricky Triangle” is the perfect place for Hornish to make his return. The low-banked, sharp-turning tri-oval suits the former open-wheel racer.

He has a top-five, two top-10 and four top-15 finishes in his six Cup career starts there. Hornish is also familiar with No. 38 crew chief Jay Guy, whom he was a co-worker with at Penske Racing in Sprint Cup.

Tommy Baldwin Racing will field a second car for five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races this season. Geoffrey Bodine will pilot the No. 35 Luke Associates, Inc. Chevrolet for all five events, starting with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) July 2nd. He will return to the Luke Associates, Inc.-sponsored Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Texas Motor Speedway and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Luke Associates, Inc. (Luke) is one of the largest providers of healthcare for the U.S. military and is rapidly expanding into national and local healthcare systems. Headquartered on the Space Coast of Florida,

”It is very exciting to work with people and organizations who share in the same values and ethics as Luke,” said Jim Barfield, President and CEO of Luke. “We are looking forward to a great partnership with Geoff, Tommy and his team, and NASCAR. After meeting with Geoff and TBR, we knew that this sponsorship was meant to be; sometimes you just know when things are right”.

Geoffrey Bodine made his NSCS debut in 1979. Over his 26-year NASCAR career, the Chemung, N.Y., native collected 18 wins, 100 top-fives and led over 8,600 laps. At age 62, Bodine ranks 16th all-time with 37 career poles.

NASCAR on FOX’s 2011 season came to an end with Sunday’s STP 400 Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway.

Fox officials said it ended on an upswing in ratings.

The network’s presentation of the first 13 races of the season hit a three-year high averaging 8.6 million viewers per race, up 9 percent over last year (7.9 million viewers).  That is the largest one-year audience increase in the 11-year history of NASCAR on FOX.

This year’s NASCAR coverage on FOX posted year-to-year increases in households and across every major male and adult demographic.

The complete 2011 NASCAR season on FOX averaged a 5.0/11 household rating/share, with the season’s biggest increase coming among men 18-34.  Average ratings in that key male demographic increased 20 percent over last year (1.8 vs. 1.5).  The network boasted increases over 2010 among households (+4 percent), men 18-49 (+6 percent), men 25-54 (+5 percent) and adults 18-49 (+4 percent).

FOX posted more growth on a total rating points basis than on an average rating basis. FOX delivered a total of 64.1 rating points with NASCAR this season, a 13 percent gain over last year’s 56.7 gross rating points, which includes viewing to two Monday make-up dates. Among men 18-34 gross rating points were up 36 percent (23.2 vs. 17.1).

The 2011 NASCAR on FOX season concluded Sunday with a 3.9/10 (6.3 million viewers) for the Kansas 400, according to fast national ratings released by Nielsen Monday. This was the first airing of the Kansas 400 on FOX, however, Sunday’s race easily beat last year’s Kansas race, which aired on ESPN in October. Compared to NASCAR’s last Kansas event Sunday’s race was up 63 percent on Household rating/share (vs. 2.4/5) and up 67 percent on average audience (vs. 3.8 million viewers).

(This story will be updated as news breaks today)

| , RacinToday.com Tuesday, June 7 2011
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