Nelson Piquet Jr.

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Weekend schedule: Xfinity Series at Road America

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While the NASCAR Cup Series is enjoying its last off-weekend of the season and the Camping World Truck Series is also off, there will still be racing this weekend.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will visit Road America for Sunday’s Johnsonville 180.

This is the eighth Xfinity Series race to be held on Road America’s 4.048-mile road course.

The first six race winners there were Carl Edwards (2010), Reed Sorenson (2011), Nelson Piquet Jr. (2012), A.J. Allmendinger (2013), Brendan Gaughan (2014) and Paul Menard (2015).

Michael McDowell won last year’s race, leading half (24 laps) of the 48-lap event. Gaughan finished second, followed by Brennan Poole.

This will be the third road course race for Xfinity drivers in the last four events, and the final one of the season for the series.

Here’s this weekend’s schedule (all times Eastern):

Saturday, August 26

11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

2 – 2:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

4 – 4:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBCSN)

Sunday, August 27

8 a.m. – Xfinity garage open

11:45 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying (multi-vehicle, two rounds) (CNBC)

1 p.m. – Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

2:30 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

3 p.m. – Johnsonville 180 Xfinity race (45 laps, 182.16 miles) (NBC, Motor Racing Network/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

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Yes, there is NASCAR racing Sunday: Xfinity entry list for Road America

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Who says there’s no NASCAR racing this weekend?

Sure, the NASCAR Cup and Camping World Truck Series will enjoy the weekend off, but not the Xfinity Series.

Drivers in that series will be competing Sunday at what has become one of the most challenging and popular road courses on the Xfinity schedule: the twisting 4.048-mile road course at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

A total of 42 cars are listed on the preliminary entry list released Monday.

Only 40 cars will qualify to race in Sunday’s Johnsonville 180 (3 p.m. ET on NBC). This will be the third road course the series has raced on in the last four races.

Ryan Ellis announced Tuesday he will drive the No. 07 Chevrolet for SS Greenlight Racing, which is normally driven by Ray Black Jr. It will be Ellis’ first NASCAR start of the year.

In 2016, Ellis made four Cup starts, 16 Xfinity starts and four Truck Series starts.

One driver position and one crew chief position remain to be filled.

  • Team JD Motorsports has not named a driver for the No. 15 Chevrolet.
  • And the No. 72 Chevrolet, driven by John Jackson and owned by James Carter, has yet to name a crew chief for the race.

This will be the eighth Xfinity race at Road America since the series first visited there in 2010.

The winners since then have been Carl Edwards (2010), Reed Sorenson (2011), Nelson Piquet Jr. (2012), A.J. Allmendinger (2013), Brendan Gaughan (2014), Paul Menard (2015) and Michael McDowell last year.

Click here for the preliminary entry list for Sunday’s Xfinity race at Road America.

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Michael McDowell wins first Xfinity Series race at Road America

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Michael McDowell survived a rash of cautions inside the final 10 laps of the Road America 180 and then held off his teammate, Brendan Gaughan, for his first career win Saturday afternoon.

In his 94th Xfinity Series start, and his first since 2014, McDowell led 24 of the race’s 48 laps driving the No. 2 for Richard Childress Racing. He took the lead for the final time with 19 laps to go, after making contact with Alex Tagliani. Tagliani won the pole in the No. 22 for Team Penske and was dominant early, but he never recovered from the contact and failed to contend for the win.

As for Richard Childress Racing, it was the third consecutive year the organization was victorious at Road America.

The top five were McDowell, Gaughan, Brennan Poole, Daniel Suarez, and Ryan Reed.

“It’s huge, I’m so thankful and blessed,” McDowell told NBCSN in victory lane. “Thank God, first and foremost. RCR, Rheem, this Chevrolet was super fast. I’ve got to thank all of my guys back in Michigan, Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing for letting me be here, they know how bad I wanted this victory at Road America. So thankful to do it.

“(Crew chief) Justin Alexander, all the guys called the right shots. I had track position there at the end when we needed it and this ECR Chevy was on rails, it was awesome.”

McDowell competes full-time in the Sprint Cup Series for Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing and received a one-race deal in the No. 2 with RCR for Road America. Following the victory, he will fly to Michigan International Speedway to compete in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race.

HOW MCDOWELL WON: McDowell took the lead on Lap 29 and never relinquished it.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Brennan Poole had a quiet day and finished third … Ryan Reed scored his first top-five finish of the season with a fifth-place effort … Darrell Wallace Jr.‘s ninth-place finish was his first top-10 in three road course starts this year … JJ Yeley finished 10th, which was his first top-10 finish of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Erik Jones was spun with two laps to go and finished 21st … Justin Marks ran inside the top 10 throughout most of the event but was spun on the last lap and finished 32nd … Garrett Smithley earned his second DNF of the season after crashing on Lap 2 and finishing 40th.

NOTABLE: Michael McDowell became the third first-time winner this season following Justin Marks (Mid-Ohio), and Daniel Suarez (Michigan). McDowell is also the fourth first-time Xfinity Series winner at Road America, the others being Nelson Piquet Jr. (2012), AJ Allmendinger (2013), and Brendan Gaughan (2014).

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I love this racetrack. It didn’t matter if it rained or it was dry, I know I’m the guy who wants it wet, but I didn’t care either way. I love this track.” — Brendan Gaughan

WHAT’S NEXT: The Xfinity Series makes their first and only visit to Darlington Raceway for the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 on Sept. 3 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Sam Hornish Jr. fastest in final Xfinity Series practice at Mid-Ohio

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Sam Hornish Jr. topped the leaderboard in final Xfinity Series practice at Mid-Ohio with a lap of 95.977 mph.

Rain shortened the session after it had already been halted when Ty Dillon made contact with the barriers in Turn 9. Dillon, who was fastest in the morning session, was sixth fastest with a lap of 94.845 mph at the time of the accident and suffered right side damage.

The top five were Hornish, Ryan Reed (95.596 mph), Nelson Piquet Jr. (95.255 mph), Ryan Blaney (95.225 mph), and Elliott Sadler (94.959 mph). Piquet is driving the No. 98 this weekend for Biagi-DenBeste Racing.

Piquet is making his first NASCAR start since 2014 this weekend driving the No. 98 for Biagi-DenBeste Racing.

Here are the speeds from final practice:

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