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Numerous wrecks fill final segment of Xfinity race at Mid-Ohio (videos)

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Drivers got pretty aggressive in the final 35 laps of Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Challenge NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

And with aggressiveness usually comes wrecks, and that was certainly the case here.

First, as almost a warm-up of things to come, five drivers were involved in a wreck on Lap 53, when Brennan Poole spun out Blake Koch and collected Spencer Gallagher, Jeremy Clements and Regan Smith.

Then on Lap 59, Justin Marks and Regan Smith tangled, with Ryan Reed being unable to avoid Marks, virtually wiping out the front end on Reed’s Ford.

Then, almost as if the previous wrecks built up to a crescendo, the biggest wreck of the race occurred with just six laps to go. The wreck involved 10 drivers and brought out a red flag.

It was a wild day, indeed.

 

Sam Hornish Jr. dominates Mid-Ohio Xfinity race to earn first career road course win

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In a race that saw a number of wrecks in the final stage, Sam Hornish avoided all the mayhem and was not to be denied, capturing Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Challenge NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Driving the No. 22 Ford Fusion for Team Penske, Hornish dominated, leading four times for 61 laps — including the final 14 — in the 75-lap event to earn his first career win at Mid-Ohio, which he considers his home track.

It was Hornish’s fifth career Xfinity Series win and his first on a road course. He has three previous runner-up finishes on road courses, including his second-place showing last year at Mid-Ohio.

MORE: Hornish wins, full results from Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio

MORE: Sadler, Byron, Allgaier remain 1-2-3 in Xfinity driver standings after Mid-Ohio

Finishing second through fifth were Daniel Hemric, Matt Tifft, James Davison and Andy Lally.

Sixth through 10th were Elliott Sadler, Brendan Gaughan, Brennan Poole, Justin Marks and Dakoda Armstrong.

Hornish won from the pole and had a car that was the class of the field. He was especially strong on restarts and took more of a defensive approach late in the race when there were several multi-car wrecks.

Two wrecks in the final stage stood out: a five-car crash involving Blake Koch, Ryan Reed, Spencer Gallagher and Jeremy Clements, and then a incident that involved 10 cars on Lap 69 that brought out the second red flag of the race.

STAGE WINNERS: Blake Koch (Stage 1), Hornish (Stage 2)

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Hornish was the star of the day, but the rest of the top-five all earned Xfinity career-best finishes: Hemric (2nd), Tifft (3rd), Australian driver Davison (4th in his second career Xfinity event) and sports car racing veteran Andy Lally (5th).

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Matt Bell had a specatular crash on Lap 16, slamming into the Turn 1 tire barrier and then landing on top of it, resulting in a 13 1/2 minute red flag period to make repairs to the barrier and adjacent fence.

NOTABLE: Cole Custer wrecked his primary car in qualifying and had to go to a backup car. He had to be towed to the garage after just one lap to fix a fluid leak, but was able to return, running 54 laps and finishing 35th.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “With the luck we had in our first two races of the year (finished 37th and 34th, both at Iowa), I was wondering how today was going to turn out, but we had an almost flawless day.” – Race winner Sam Hornish Jr.

WHAT’S NEXT: Food City 300; Friday, August 18; 7:30 p.m. ET; Bristol Motor Speedway (on NBCSN).

Follow @JerryBonkowski

 

Today’s Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

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The Xfinity Series continues its run on road courses with today’s race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. While rain played a major role in last year’s race, it won’t have any impact today.

This race is the second of three on road courses this month for the series.

Here’s all the info for today’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 3:37 p.m. Green flag is set for 3:48 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 75 laps (165.35 miles) around the 2.258-mile road course.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 20. Stage 2 ends on Lap 40.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The garage opens at 7 a.m. Final practice is from 8 – 8:45 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at 2:15 p.m. Driver introductions are at 3 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: The Columbus Children’s Choir will perform the Anthem at 3:30 p.m.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. with Countdown to Green. The Motor Racing Network radio broadcast begins at 3 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts a temperature of 75 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at race time.

LAST TIME: Justin Marks won last year’s race, which was run in the rain. Sam Hornish Jr. placed second. Ryan Blaney finished third.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here.

Rain washes out both Xfinity practices Friday at Mid-Ohio

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Rain prevented NASCAR Xfinity cars from getting on track Friday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Xfinity teams will practice from 8 – 8:45 a.m. ET Saturday.

Qualifying is scheduled for noon Saturday. The green flag for Saturday’s race is scheduled for 3:48 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Justin Marks is the defending race winner.

NASCAR America: Justin Marks breaks down Mid-Ohio, passion for mountain climbing (video)

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In addition to racing, many NASCAR drivers have second athletic passions such as playing golf, skiing or maybe driving off-road.

But not Xfinity Series driver Justin Marks, who attempts to defend last year’s win (in the rain) at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in this weekend’s Mid-Ohio Challenge there.

Marks has a unique second passion: he likes to get away and climb mountains.

On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, Marks spoke with our team about last year’s win, his unique relationship with William Byron – and how climbing Mount Everest is on his bucket list.

“My first heroes in racing were NASCAR drivers and I went to races in the Midwest, my father took me to the Daytona 500, I got everybody’s autograph” Marks said. “That day (winning at Mid-Ohio) was just such a special day for our team and played into my wheelhouse and my experience.

“It’s one thing to be fast, but things really have to go your way in a race and they did for us that day. It was just a great day.”

As for mountain climbing, he went to see a movie about Mount Everest in 1997 and “it changed my life,” Marks said. “Mountaineering is a passion or sport that people can do for a long time in their lives.”

Marks set aside mountain climbing until last year. He told himself after winning the Xfinity race at Mid-Ohio that he had completed one goal (winning a NASCAR race) and now it was time to resurrect his passion for mountain climbing, with Mount Everest being his ultimate goal.

“I had two passions as a kid, I’ve gotten one of them out of the way, and how cool would it be to start pursuing the other one,” Marks said. “I’ve put the wheels in motion to get to Mount Everest and hopefully we’ll get there in the next 24 to 36 months and stand on top of the world.”

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