By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
The last time the NASCAR Xfinity Series visited the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Regan Smith took home the victory in dramatic fashion as he moved road course ace Alex Tagliani out of the way in the final corners. Smith won over Tagliani by just over three quarters of a second. There are no past winners entered in this weekend’s race, guaranteeing a different winner for the fourth straight year.
Xfinity Series Chase
20 races into the 2016 Xfinity Series Season, there have been 12 different winners, and only three of them, Erik Jones, Elliott Sadler, and Daniel Suarez are currently locked into the Xfinity Series Chase via wins. The reason why these three drivers are the only only ones locked into the Xfinity Series Chase is because they are the only Xfinity Series regulars that are competing in the entire season that have so far reached victory lane. With just six races left before the Chase, time may be beginning to run out for other Xfinity Series regulars to score a victory and lock themselves into the Chase.
Currently, the other drivers who would be in the Chase on points are Justin Allgaier, Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Brandon Jones, Brennan Poole, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ryan Reed, Ryan Sieg, and Blake Koch. Koch currently has a two point lead over Ross Chastain, who is 13th in the series standings, and is currently first driver on the outside, looking in. Dillon, Allgaier, Gaughan, Poole, and Brandon Jones are all over 125 points ahead of the Chase cut-off.
What to Watch For
There are several storylines going into this weekend’s race to watch for:
- Will a Cup Series regular win again, or will an Xfinity Series regular take the win?
- Will a road racing specialist win?
- Many Xfinity Series regulars are looking at scoring their first win of the season and to lock themselves into the Xfinity Series Chase.
- Will weather in the forecast play a factor as rain tires are a possibility for being used.
- Points leader Elliott Sadler is looking extend his 11 point lead even further over Daniel Suarez.
- Sam Hornish Jr. returns to the No. 2 Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing.
- Tomy Drissi returns to the No. 14 Tri-Star Motorsports Toyota Camry for the second week in a row.
- Road racing specialist Owen Kelly will be in the No. 18 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. This is Kelly’s fourth career NASCAR Xfinity Series start, and his third for Joe Gibbs Racing. Kelly last competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Mid-Ohio in 2013.
- Ryan Blaney will be in the No. 22 Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
- NASCAR NEXT driver Alon Day makes his debut, driving the No. 40 Dodge for Carl Long.
- Kenny Habul makes his first appearance of the season in the JRM ‘All-Star No. 88 Car.’ Justin Marks also returns for another start in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
- Andy Lally will be in the No. 90 Chervolet Camaro for Mario Gosselin.
- Jordan Anderson will be in the No. 97 for Obaika Racing.
- Nelson Piquet Jr. makes his first start of the season in the No. 98 Ford Mustang for Biagi-Denbeste Racing.
- Sunoco Rookie points leader Erik Jones looks to extend his 26 point lead over Brandon Jones, Brennan Poole, and the other rookie of the year contenders.
- The only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular that will be in the field for this weekend’s race is Ryan Blaney.
Where and When to Watch
Qualifying: Friday, August 12th, at 6:15pm Eastern on USA and NBC Sports Live Extra
Race: Saturday, August 13th, at 2:00pm Eastern on USA, NBC Sports Live Extra, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, and the Motor Racing Network.