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Former IndyCar champ Sam Hornish Jr. wins his first Nationwide race

November 12, 2011 |  4:23 pm

Sam Hornish Jr., a former IndyCar racing champion who switched to stock car racing four years ago, won his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway.

HornishHis teammate Brad Keselowski finished second, giving their Penske Racing team a 1-2 sweep.

Hornish was a three-time IndyCar champion and Indianapolis 500 winner who struggled after he switched to NASCAR, first in its premier Sprint Cup Series and then in its second-level Nationwide Series.

But Hornish qualified fifth in the Wypall 200 on Saturday, took the lead with about 60 laps remaining and then repeatedly held the lead on several restarts following accidents behind him.

"I cant hardly believe it," Hornish said. "I’m so happy about it. I'm glad I stuck it out [in stock cars]."

Carl Edwards finished third, Joey Logano fourth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fifth.

Stenhouse holds a 41-point lead in the Nationwide championship standings over Elliott Sadler, who finished 27th after being collected in an accident.

--Jim Peltz in Avondale, Ariz.

Photo: Sam Hornish Jr. celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway. Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images