- Sam Hornish Jr.
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Thank you all for sharing this year with me, the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Ford team and Penske Racing.
While we came up just short of the goal of winning the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers' championship, we had our best year to date, and that is something for which I am very grateful.
It is rarely fun to finish second, but that is the way this one worked out, and I have to give congratulations to the Richard Childress Racing team and Austin Dillon. They are a formidable team, and Austin has a bright future in racing.
I've been saying it all year long, and I have to say it again now. To run up front in NASCAR, whether it is in the Cup or Nationwide series, you have to be surrounded by talented individuals, and that is what I had surrounding me -- a great bunch of talented and passionate people.
I have to thank Roger Penske for being the consummate boss for 10 years now -- together, we have won the Indianapolis 500, an IndyCar Series championship, 10 races and 15 poles between Nationwide and IndyCar. That's quite a lot to be proud of.
Thanks to Alliance Truck Parts, which has been largely responsible for me having this opportunity. We've been fortunate to have the Wurth Group as partners, too. Of course, we have to thank Snap-on Tools, PPG, Detroit Genuine Parts, Penske Truck Leasing and SKF and all the great partners we work with at Penske Racing. Finally, thanks to the people at Ford Motor Co. for all they've done, as well.
This year gave us the opportunity to show what we are capable of as a team, and I am proud of the effort. I feel as though I am now at a place where I know what I want from the car, the team and myself in terms of being consistently competitive in a stock car.
I left open-wheel racing after accomplishing quite a bit more than I had expected and dove into the deep end by going directly to the Cup series. This journey has been fraught with obstacles, criticism and challenges. It has taught me a lot about who I am, and it has made be a better person.
Thanks to all the people at Penske Racing for 10 enjoyable years -- it has been an honor and a pleasure to work with you, represent our great partners and get to know you all.
We are still working on what's next for us in terms of where I will be next year, but I have faith that good things are coming our way. Change has a way of teaching us things about ourselves that we wouldn't discover otherwise, and, although it is difficult to leave one place, it is always exciting to arrive somewhere new.
To all those who read this and have kept up with our blogs all year, have an outstanding offseason and thanks for everything.
Sam Hornish Jr. drives the No. 12 Ford Mustang for Penske Racing. He shared his thoughts on and off the track with ESPN.com readers periodically this season. Follow him on Twitter @samhornish and on Facebook.
Sam Hornish Jr. writes about a championship lost, a successful run at Penske Racing and the change that awaits him in 2014 and beyond.