The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns in one week to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Mid-Ohio Challenge, August 11-12. One of the Ohio drivers eager to compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race next Saturday is Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
"It's always exciting to come back to Mid-Ohio. It is the track I would consider my 'home track,' so that always makes running there special," said Sam Hornish Jr., the Defiance, Ohio native. "But what I really want to do is go there and win. I've been fortunate enough to race at Mid-Ohio over the years more times than I can count, but somehow I've never won there. I've been close and had a lot of second-place finishes, but winning there would just be one of the highlights of my career."
Hornish Jr. continued, "I've always got a lot of friends and family who come out to the race, and you always want to win when you have those people there with you. I'm just thankful to Roger Penske and the entire Team Penske organization to give me this opportunity to go out there and win one of these XFINITY road course events."
Next Saturday's 75-lap NASCAR XFINITY Series race will also feature three other Buckeye state connections. Greg Vandersluis, originally from Columbia Station, Ohio, and an instructor at The Mid-Ohio School, will make his debut in the series driving the No. 97 Obaika Racing Chevrolet. Matt Tifft, a Hinckley, Ohio native, will race the No. 19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. Tifft is back racing full-time this season after surgery in 2016 for a low-grade glioma in his brain. Additionally, team owner Matt Kaulig, of Hudson, Ohio, a former University of Akron quarterback and successful entrepreneur in Northeast Ohio, fields the No. 11 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet for driver Blake Koch.
Aaron Quine is another The Mid-Ohio School instructor who will be racing during the weekend in the legendary Trans Am Series, an American road racing series which originates back to 1966. Living in the Akron, Ohio area his entire life, Quine made his Trans Am racing debut at Mid-Ohio in 2014 and will race the No. 21 Spillfix Orange Howe Camaro in Trans Am's TA2 Class.
"Mid-Ohio is my second home. I instruct a lot of Honda Teen Defensive Driving Programs there with The Mid-Ohio School," said Aaron Quine. "I have been going to the track since the mid-1970s watching many different races, so it would absolutely be the top moment of my career so far to get my first Trans Am TA2 win there next weekend."
The first woman to win a Trans Am race and championship, Amy Ruman of Stow, Ohio, will compete in Trans Am's top TA class driving the No. 23 NcNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette. With 83 career starts and 16 wins in Trans Am, she is looking to defend her back-to-back season TA class championships as the 2015 and 2016 Trans Am champion. Joining Ruman on the grid will be David Pintaric, of Canfield, Ohio, racing the No. 57 Kryderacing Cadillac CTS-V.
The final series on the weekend schedule is the FIA-certified F4 United States Championship Powered by Honda adding some open-wheel racing entertainment. Three total races between Friday and Saturday will take the green flag for this series. One of the 33 drivers entered to compete is John Paul Southern Jr. of Westlake, Ohio, driving Jay Howard's MDD No. 66 Honda machine.
Tickets are on sale now for the Mid-Ohio Challenge. A Weekend General Admission ticket is available for $55, and for just $5 more, a Weekend Grandstand seat is $60. Tickets purchased at the gate are an additional $5. Children 12 and under always receive free general admission at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course when accompanied by a ticketed adult. To purchase tickets in advance, visit midohio.com or call 419-884-4000, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. EDT, Monday to Friday. Follow the event on Twitter and Instagram with #MOChallenge.