Just a weekend after racing at Watkins Glen, the Nationwide Series will head to Mid-Ohio for yet another road course event. This time around, neither Marcos Ambrose nor Kyle Busch will be on the track.
In fact, none of the Sprint Cup regulars will be starting the event at Mid-Ohio. That leaves the race wide open for championship contenders like Chase Elliott and Elliott Sadler, who look like strong contenders for a win.
There will be a few road course specialists like Sam Hornish Jr. in the running, but the full Nationwide field has a chance to compete for a checkered flag. After a great finish by Hornish last season, he looks like the favorite coming in.
Ironically enough, AJ Allmendinger, who solidified his berth in the Chase at The Glen, was the winner of the event last season. Will another future star on the Sprint Cup stage emerge at Mid-Ohio on Saturday?
Here's a look at the full schedule, standings and preview of the Children's Hospital 200.
Children's Hospital 200 Information
Where: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
When: Saturday, Aug. 16, 2:45 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
|Pos.||Driver||Points||Wins||Top 5||Top 10|
Quickly establishing himself as one of the bright young stars in the sport, Chase Elliott has been on fire this season.
The 18-year-old narrowly missed out on another top five at The Glen, finishing sixth at the road course. With that finish, he also holds a 12-point lead in the Nationwide standings after 21 starts during his rookie campaign.
Along with his success at the Nationwide level, he might also be looking at a few Sprint Cup starts next season. Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, spoke about the future for Elliott, via NASCAR.com:
We haven't arrived at a decision for sure, but I think you'll probably see him run a few races next year. Before he ever won a Nationwide race, I watched him test Jimmie's car and Jeff's car at Nashville, and Jimmie and Jeff both commented to me, 'This kid is super smooth and super fast. He takes care of his equipment, and he doesn't get in a jam.'
I said before he ever ran a race, I would put him in a 600-mile race at Charlotte and think he'd finish in the top 15, top 10, because he's so smart.
Who will win at Mid-Ohio?
Talk about high praise. Not only does the current top owner in the Sprint Cup believe in Elliott, but also two living legends in the sport. Top that off with the fact that he drives for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for JR Motorsports, and Bill Elliott's son has a great support system.
Elliott has three wins this season, but he's far from the top road course driver in this race. That title likely belongs to Hornish, who will be returning to the track yet again with Busch remaining in Michigan.
Hornish came up short last season, but the Defiance, Ohio, native will be looking for a win in his home state. The former Sprint Cup driver spoke about the chance to race at Mid-Ohio, per Catchfence.com:
Having the opportunity to race in my home state really means a lot to me. I’ve got so many great memories at Mid-Ohio from my childhood, as a fan. I’ve raced five or six different levels of motorsports there and I look forward to racing there every chance I get.
With Allmendinger, Busch and others not in the running, Hornish has a great chance to win another Nationwide race this season.
Sadler, who finished just behind Elliott and the Sprint Cup regulars at Watkins Glen, looks primed for a strong run at Mid-Ohio. After finishing sixth last season at the track, he'll have a fresh new look this weekend, per the Nationwide Series:
As the Nationwide points race heats up, both Elliott and Sadler have a chance to separate themselves at the road course. Regardless of who eventually wins at Mid-Ohio, this weekend's race promises to be one teeming with intrigue.
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