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Road Racing In The Rain…A Very Real Possibility At Mid-Ohio

Good Year Rain Tires

Good Year Rain Tires

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.

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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