Mid-Ohio Presents Challenges Of All Kinds To Xfinity Drivers

The NASCAR Xfinity series returns to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the 6th time, and only driver in the field has won here.

That driver is road racing specialist, Justin Marks. This will be Marks first start in the series since running at Road America in 2017. For Marks, Mid-Ohio is a special place as it is the home to his one and only career NASCAR win, which came in 2016. That race, he won in the rain.

Mother Nature

Rain had an impact on the NASCAR Xfinity series race last week at Watkins Glen, and once again it could come in to play at Mid-Ohio.

Rain is in the forecast for both Friday and Saturday, and drivers fully expect that to have an impact on the weekend. Ross Chastain said this morning that Mid-Ohio is such a technical course, one he enjoys, he just wishes he was better at it. “This place is so challenging, if you mess up one corner, it affects you in the next corner, and the next.” This 13 turn course doesn’t give drivers much of a chance to rest with it’s close proximity corners, blind elevation changes and some off camber turns.

Chastain adds that if it rains, this race will be a battle of survival, just as it was when they race in the “monsoon” in 2016.

Justin Allgaier described this track as “flowy”. It takes a real focus to make sure you don’t miss a corner as you could end up being way behind by the end of a lap. The focus at Mid-Ohio has to be 100 percent every single lap. “You can make small mistakes here in a few places and you’re able to keep up, but it’s about minimizing those mistakes here.”

One of the things Allgaier say’s about Mid-Ohio in comparison to other road courses. “This track is very narrow.” It’s not really that big of a deal, until you get yourself in trouble and lose a spot or two.” He adds that trying to get back through traffic after losing spots in very tough.”

That narrowness of the race track will make qualifying on Saturday critical, and rain is in the forecast which makes the level of focus much more higher.

Love Hate Relationship

Allgaier and Chastain both said they enjoy the challenge of racing here. One driver that is looking for the strong finish, but loves racing at Mid-ohio is Ryan Reed from Roush-Fenway racing. “If I had to pick one of the road courses that I feel we’re the best at, it’s here.” Reed also agrees with Allgaier and Chastain that you can’t put a wheel out of place or you will lose a ton of time. “Theres a few places you can get aggressive and really try to outbreak a guy. “Certainly up in to the keyhold (turn 2), in to turn 4, but you’re likely to be side by side over the blind hill and turn 5.”

Brendan Gaughan says that you can be aggressive, but on this “true road course”, there are penalties for over doing it. “China Beach in turn 4 is there for a reason, It’s a penalty if you get off the track there. You will get stuck.” He adds that is what he loves about this.

When asked about the comparison between Watkins Glen, Mid-Ohio and Road America next week, are there any similarities. With a laugh, Reed said “No!”. “I mean Road American is like a combonation of The Glen and here (Mid-Ohio)”. The Glen and here are polar oposites.

Watkins Glen is like a super speedway, so incredibly fast and super aggressive. Where, you have a technical and warn out type of race track that takes a lot of finesse.

Rain Or Shine

Watch these cars carefully on Saturday, if the race is anything like the practices you’ll see a lot of these cars “3-wheeling” around a lot of this track. Ryan Reed say’s it’s a normal thing, but it’s more prevelant at Mid-Ohio because of the technical aspect of the track, and you’ll

Gaughan says this is one of those weekends we can tell fans come on out, rain or shine. I love racing in the rain, and I’m not here for a “good top 5 day.” The No. 3 South Point Casino/Beard Oil RCR Chevy will be going to the front, as long as he doesn’t find one of those penalties.

With weather in the area for the weekend. The NASCAR Xfinity Series will require a lot patience and that finesse will be on display. Will that message be delivered to the right foot after the green flag.

 

Stephen Conley

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera.

I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University. I have hosted multiple Motorsports talk shows, worked in Country Music radio, and now i spend every day on the air in the morning with 1300 and 100.9 WMVO and in the afternoons watching the roadways around Central Ohio for 93.7 WQIO.

The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting 15 years having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and you can find me at pretty much any event run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth.

Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras.

My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports.

See you at a track soon

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