Hornish to leave Panther Racing

Aug. 19, 2003 at 3:02 AM
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INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Sam Hornish Jr. told his Panther Racing team on Monday that he was leaving the two-time Indy Racing League championship operation at the end of this season.

On Sunday, he confirmed to that he had narrowed his list of opportunities to three teams for his next contract. On Monday, he and his agent, John Caponigro, met with Panther Racing team owners and team members and told them the list was down to two and Panther was out.

"The decision was hard enough to make and I told the team I wanted to be the one to tell them," Hornish said. "It was very emotional to me. It was a very tough thing to do. I can't say right now which series it is in, (but) you can take Panther off that list."

Hornish said the Dale Earnhardt Inc. NASCAR Winston Cup team was not in his top three choices.

He is the IRL's all-time victory leader with nine wins in just 40 races with Panther. His victory moved him to fifth place in the IRL standings, only 77 points out of first with four races remaining, and is the IRL's all-time career laps leader with 1,729.

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