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- Track Talk: Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond
- In the Fast Lane with Michael McDowell
- Track Talk: Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway
- Crunching The Numbers: 2017 Food City 500
- Track Talk: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas
- Crunching The Numbers: 2017 O’Reilly Auto Parts 500
- Track Talk: STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway
- Track Talk: Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway
- Dropping the Hammer with Elliott Sadler
Road Racing In The Rain…A Very Real Possibility At Mid-Ohio
- Updated: August 13, 2016
Written by Stephen Conley
As the Sprint Cup and Truck Series have the weekend off, The Xfinity Series takes center stage in the Buckeye state as they will take to their second straight road course race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Sam Hornish Jr. in his second start of the season will lead them to the green after setting the fast time on Friday navigating the 15 turn 2.4 mile road course in 84.014 seconds/95.755 mph. Road racing expert Owen Kelly starts on the outside in the Number 18 Tunity Toyota followed by Ryan Blaney, elliott Sadler and Daniel Suarez rounding out the top 5.
Entering Saturdays Mid-Ohio Challenge something is on the drivers mind and it’s not the tight race track or the ease in which you can exit the track, but RAIN is in the forecast and for many of these drivers, they’ve never raced in the rain. For pole Sitter Sam Hornish Jr he told me while hanging out behind the hauler that, “with as good as a car that he has, he hopes that it stays dry as he’s never done this. The biggest challenge will be keeping the car on the race track.” The teams are only allowed to sets, a third in the event of an emergency but Sam certainly has a concern about conserving those tires as it’s a warm day and if it’s just damp, he said the team won’t want to have to pit more than needed to change those tires out.
The crew chiefs are going to be under a lot of pressure today deciding when to put those tires back on the car or take them off as to not abuse them. Especially if they are needed for the end of the race.
Another driver that has zero experience in the rain and also has a fast car is the guy that has been in the spotlight this week. Erk Jones with his announcement that he will join Furniture Row Racing next year, Erik has had a big week but the driver of the number 20 Dewalt Toyota today said he think rain will certainly pay in to the race today, maybe not at the start so he said “the biggest thing for me is staying on track early and conserving the car.” even though he has never raced in the rain he says it would be a unique aspect, “Even more unique than it already is.” Unlike many others in the garage today, Jones welcomes the challenge.
NASCAR Xfinity director Wayne Auton said in the drivers meeting if rain does hit the race track and the surface is damp prior to the green flag they will roll the cars off take them at a very reduced rate of speed around the track so the drivers can inform the crew chiefs on how wet the surface is, and will be allowed to decide if rain tires are necessary, if NASCAR decides the track is “wet” not just spotty damp, teams will be forced back down pit road after that first pace lap and put on wet weather tires. It will be mandatory, but after the green flag drops, it’s on the teams to decide how to use the wet weather tires..
It should be an interesting day, if the weather hits, it opens victory lane up to any driver in the field.