Sam Hornish Jr. proves good guys can win on emotional Father's Day
In NASCAR, sometimes good guys win.
And on Father's Day, it's fitting that the race winner wasn't just a good guy, but a good father, too, which made for a great story on a day marked by domination.
As pinch hitters go, Sam Hornish Jr. did a whale of a job Sunday at Iowa Speedway, where he won the American Ethanol E15 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race.
Hornish was a last-minute substitute for the injured Matt Tifft in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and he scored a dominating victory, leading 183 of 250 laps.
Tifft had a disc issue in his back that knocked him out of the seat temporarily.
Considering that the last time Hornish ran a race of any kind was at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November, it was an impressive performance.
JGR called Hornish on Monday to inquire about his availability. The three-time IndyCar Series champion was up for it, as he had spent much of this year as a substitute teacher in his native Ohio.
Sunday's XFINITY victory was the fourth of Hornish's career in 111 starts. And Hornish made it look easy, becoming the fifth different driver to win an XFINITY race in a JGR Toyota this year.
Ty Dillon was second, followed by Brad Keselowski, Daniel Suarez and Alex Bowman.
The victory was a triumphant moment for Hornish, one of the quietest and most unassuming drivers you'll ever meet and a strong family man.
Winning on short notice was a big deal for Hornish.
Winning on Father's Day was an even bigger deal for Hornish.
But what really made the day remarkable was that it was the first time Hornish ever won a race with his wife, Crystal, daughters Addison and Eliza, and son, Sam III, all in attendance.
No wonder he was fighting back tears in Victory Lane.
"I got my wife and kids here," said Hornish, as he led out a loud sigh. "This is the first time the kids got to be here for one of dad's wins.
"I can't tell you what this means to me," said Hornish. "Worked so hard to try and get a win when I had my kids here, and the fact of how all this went on. I've just got to thank God. He makes things happen."
Hornish admitted being jittery before the race.
"I was so nervous on Friday, getting into the car and thinking I'm going to make a mistake," he said.
But he had no worries on the day.
"Man, to go out there and win they way we did, I just can't say anything more about it."
And that's OK, really. Because Hornish's performance spoke volumes and that's all he really needed.