Alex Tagliani wins the pole for Saturday’s Road America 180. He outlast Michael McDowell in the final round. This is his eighth start in NASCAR Xfinity competition. This is Tagliani’s fourth career pole. However, he is looking for his first career win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
The first round of qualifying was eventful due to a couple cars going off the course. Alon Day had trouble and ended up in the gravel trap off of Canada Corner after flat spotting his tired going into the fifth turn. The session was stopped to help get Day out of the gravel trap. Owen Kelly set a new track record in qualifying with a speed of 109.604 mph. However, Kelly’s track record did not last long as Tagliani and McDowell were the only two to top that record in the first round. McDowell will hold the new record. Josh Bilicki also wrecked in the opening session bringing out the red flag after hitting the tire barriers after going into the first turn way too fast. McDowell was fastest in this round with a speed of 110.37 mph, Tagliani was second at a speed of 110.043, Kelly was third at a speed of 109.604 mph, Ryan Reed was fourth at a speed of 109.407 mph, and Justin Marks rounded out the top-five with a speed of 109.407 mph. No drivers will go home. Some notable drivers who did not advance to the second round were Darrell Wallace Jr who qualified 13th and Elliott Sadler who qualified 14th.
As the second round began, majority of the drivers jumped on the speedway, except Erik Jones, who waited to hit the track to cool down his engine and tires because of a late run in the first round. Tagliani won the pole with a speed of 109.866 mph, McDowell qualified second with a speed of 109.591 mph, Marks qualified third at a speed of 109.196 mph, Kelly will start fourth with a speed of 109.129 mph, and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top five with a speed of 108.644 mph.
The Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville will begin at 3PM EST on NBCSN and Motor Racing Network. Pre-race show for NBCSN and Motor Racing Network will begin at 2:30PM EST.
While the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series are in Michigan, the NASCAR Xfinity Series rolls into Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin to Road America for the Road America 180 presented by Johnsonville. This is the third and final road course event for the Xfinity Series in 2016. 40 drivers have entered into the event.
Michael McDowell is the sole NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver who will be pulling off the Michigan and Road America
Road America is situated between Green Bay and Milwaukee near the Kettle Moraine. The track is 4.048 mile road-course. Drivers will have to master 14 turns over 45 laps. Adding to the challenge of Road America, drivers may have to battle some rain during the event.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series has only raced at Road America since 2010. There have been five different pole winners in six events. Michael McDowell currently holds the record of being the youngest to win a pole, while Alex Tagliani is the oldest. All the races held at Road America have seen different winners. Reed Sorenson is the youngest winner, while Brendan Gaughan is the oldest. Only three races have been won from the pole position. In 2013, AJ Allmendinger was the last driver to win from the pole position in Xfinity Series competition at Road America. In 2012, Nelson Piquet Jr set the qualifying record with a speed of 85.171 mph; He also set the race record that year at a speed of 109.516 mph.
Drivers talk about the challenges at Road America in weekly press releases.
"Road America is a really cool track. It's packed with NASCAR fans and it's just a lot of fun to drive. It's very technical. It has a lot of elevation changes and it's very long. We had a lot of speed at Mid-Ohio when it wasn't raining so all I'm really hoping for this weekend is a dry track,” said current Xfinity Series point leader, Elliott Sadler.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to some road course racing this weekend. We were really strong a few weeks ago at Mid-Ohio and we had a solid run here last season. So hopefully we can have that same speed again this weekend with our LoudMouth Exhaust Mustang and see what we can do on Saturday,” said Bubba Wallace Jr.
“I’m looking forward to this weekend at Road America and our last road course of the year. This has definitely been a learning year for me when it comes to the road courses and trying to figure out how to get around each one and the unique challenges of each track. All year we’ve had fast Camrys and I know this weekend at Road America will be no different. We’ll use the practice sessions to get up to speed and for me to figure out my way around the track. We’ve got a big group from Reser’s with us this weekend and I’d love to get them another trip to victory lane,” said Erik Jones, the top seed in the Xfinity chase.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series has already had two practice sessions at Road America. In the first practice session, Michael McDowell paced the field with a speed of 108.847 mph, with Owen Kelly in second at a speed of 108.839 mph, Alex Tagliani was third at a speed of 108.687 mph, Justin Marks was fourth at a speed of 134.586 mph), and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top-five with a speed of 107.780 mph. In the second and final practice, Justin Marks paced the field at 108.946 mph, Michael McDowell in second at a speed of 108.907, Alex Tagliani with a speed of 108.571 mph, Owen Kelly with a speed of 108.378 mph, and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-five in final practice at a speed of 108.194 mph. No drivers ran 10 consecutive laps in both of the practice session.
NASCAR Xfinity drivers will qualify for the race at Road America on August 26th at 6:30PM EST on NBCSN. Coverage from Road America will be on Motor Racing Network and NBCSN beginning at 2:30PM EST.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup, Xfinity, and Camping World Truck series teams have wrapped up a long weekend at the 0.533-mile Bristol Motor Speedway, a weekend that began on Wednesday, August 17th. Here are my five takeaways from this weekends events at Bristol Motor Speedway:
- Weather: Weather was once again a factor all weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Weather, unfortunately, is a major key when it comes to NASCAR. The running joke, “if you ever wanted to end a drought, send NASCAR into town”, held true. Weather, in my opinion effected the action on Saturday night into Sunday for the Sprint Cup Race. Hopefully, the rest of the 2016 will be free from weather.
- Rosin/Resin: This sticky stuff placed on the bottom groove at Bristol seemed to work. I would have liked to see how this substance would work without the rain. I found it interesting for this substance to be effective, it had to be heated up. The weather washed off some of this substance. However, what was left on the track provided for some great racing all weekend long. Should we see this substance added to more speedways?
- Kyle Busch: It is a love/hate relationship amongst fans when it comes to Kyle Busch. Busch talked to the media after the Xfinity Series race and after his accident on Sunday in the Cup race. His comments were made after coming out of the heat of the battle. I would rather have a champion that speaks what is on his mind instead of one who keeps quiet instead of calling it the way it truly is.
- NCWTS Race: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race was a huge indicator when it came to the rosin/resin on the racetrack at Bristol. The trucks were the guinea pigs, and the test was successful and an indicator into how the weekend would be. The race also featured a new first time winner in NASCAR, Ben Kennedy.
- Speedway Motorsports Inc.: I applaud Bruton Smith, Marcus Smith, Jerry Caldwell, and the entire team at Bristol Motor Speedway for trying something outside of the box. Bristol and SMI took a risk move to try to make the racing at Bristol to what fans seem to remember from the “good ole days”. The risk taken seemed to be successful. I love the motto Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Bruton Smith use, “We work for the fans”, because this weekend shows that everyone at SMI is concerned with the on track action taking place on their speedways.
What are your five takeaways from this weekends events at Bristol Motor Speedway?
In an emotional victory for Chip Ganassi Racing as they remember Bryan Clauson, Justin Marks wins at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after battling heavy rain, dry conditions, and Sam Hornish Jr. This is Mark’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series win in 25 starts. Hornish finished second with Ryan Blaney in third, Ty Dillon in fourth, and Justin Allgaier in fifth.
“My specialty is road racing. I don’t get much opportunity to do it. When the opportunity presents itself, I really have to take advantage of it. I knew if we raced in the rain that we would have a shot at winning it. I’m just really happy,” said an emotional Marks in a post-race victory lane interview.
“it’s just great for the team. We’ve got Justin and Kyle winning both in the 42 car. It’s just a great day for Chip Ganassi Racing,” said Mike Shiplett, crew chief on the no. 42.
The Mid-Ohio Challenge experienced eight cautions for a total of 32 laps. One caution flew for weather. Five cautions flew for cars going off the racing surface. There was only one debris caution. The caution flew once for a major accident that collected five cars.
There were 13 lead changes among eight different drivers. Marks led the most laps at 43 for a total of three times. Hornish Jr. led a total of three times for eight laps. Ty Dillon led a total of two times for five laps. Owen Kelly also led two times during the race for two laps. Darrel Wallace Jr. led once for seven laps. Blaney also led once for a total of six laps. Brendan Gaughan led once for three laps. Ross Chastain also led once for one lap.
The average speed of the race was 53.437 mph. The time of race was 3 hours, 10 minutes, 09 seconds. The margin of victory for Marks was 3.707 seconds.
Elliott Sadler continues to hold onto the point lead heading into next weeks event at Bristol Motor Speedway by 25 over Daniel Suarez. Dillon is in third 33 points behind, Erik Jones is fourth 52 points behind, and Justin Allgaier is 54 points behind.
The next race for the NASCAR Xfinity Series will be Friday, August 19 for the Food City 300. USA Network will be host to the race beginning at 7:30 pm eastern. Performance Racing Network will have radio coverage from Bristol at 7 pm.
After a delay from the Formula 4 series race, NASCAR Xfinity Series qualifying was a battle between rain and different tire rubber on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. However, the weather held off and Sam Hornish Jr. will start from the pole in Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Challenge. This is his eighth career pole and first of 2016. Hornish will also hold the new track record with a speed of 96.755 mph.
In the first round of qualifying, David Starr spun and ended up in the sand trap to have the red flag fly when he entered into the “keyhole” portion of the track and ended up in the sand trap. The red flag was displayed for the second time due to weather in the area with 6 minutes and 22 seconds remaining. However, this round was able to run its advertised time with Hornish Jr. on top of the board with a speed of 96.755 mph. Ty Dillon was second at a speed of 95.753 mph, Owen Kelly was in third with a speed of 95.702 mph, Erik Jones edged his way into fourth with a speed of 95.661 mph, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top five at 95.481 mph. Notable drivers who did not advance to the second round include Blake Koch who qualified 13th, Brennan Poole who qualified 17, Kenny Habul who qualified 18th, and Alon Day who qualified 22nd. No drivers will be going home from Mid-Ohio this weekend.
The second round of qualifying was not plagued by weather or on-track accidents like the first round.. Hornish Jr. topped the round with a speed of 96.374 mph. Kelly qualified second with a speed of 95.877 mph, Blaney qualified third at 95.739 mph, Elliott Sadler qualified fourth at a speed of 95.675 mph, and Daniel Suarez rounds out the top five with a speed of 95.613 mph. Dillon, who qualified second in the first round, qualified seventh.
The Mid-Ohio Challenge from Lexington, Ohio will be on USA Network and Motor Racing Network beginning at 3 pm eastern with pre-race shows. Action from Mid-Ohio will begin at 3:30 pm eastern