Justin Marks took the checkered flag at the NASCAR Xfinity Series' Mid-Ohio Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday.
It was his first career win on the Xfinity Series circuit, which showed the end of his winning performance:
Here are the final results from the race and the updated driver standings:
|Mid-Ohio Challenge Final Results|
|2||Sam Hornish Jr.||3.707 Seconds|
|3||Ryan Blaney||7.103 Seconds|
|4||Ty Dillon||8.084 Seconds|
|5||Justin Allgaier||12.588 Seconds|
|6||Erik Jones||19.550 Seconds|
|7||Andy Lally||19.550 Seconds|
|8||Brendan Gaughan||22.692 Seconds|
|9||Elliott Sadler||23.585 Seconds|
|10||Brennan Poole||24.757 Seconds|
|11||Ryan Reed||27.570 Seconds|
|12||Blake Koch||30.095 Seconds|
|13||Alon Day||30.936 Seconds|
|14||Ross Chastain||30.936 Seconds|
|15||Darrell Wallace Jr.||35.801 Seconds|
|16||Owen Kelly||35.801 Seconds|
|17||Ryan Preece||39.320 Seconds|
|21||Dakoda Armstrong||1 Lap|
|22||Ryan Sieg||1 Lap|
|23||Daniel Suarez||1 Lap|
|24||Garrett Smithley||2 Laps|
|25||David Starr||2 Laps|
|26||Mike Bliss||2 Laps|
|27||BJ McLeod||2 Laps|
|28||Joey Gase||2 Laps|
|29||Timmy Hill||3 Laps|
|30||Ray Black Jr.||3 Laps|
|31||Jordan Anderson||3 Laps|
|32||T.J. Bell||4 Laps|
|33||Roger Reuse||5 Laps|
|34||Jeremy Clements||11 Laps|
|35||J.J. Yeley||19 Laps|
|36||Kenny Habul||21 Laps|
|37||Tim Cowen||21 Laps|
|38||Nelson Piquet Jr.||44 Laps|
|39||Mario Gosselin||72 Laps|
|40||Jeff Green||73 Laps|
|2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series Driver Standings|
|9||Darrell Wallace Jr.||539|
This was the first race of the Xfinity Series season in which a driver not affiliated with Joe Gibbs Racing had won the pole. Instead, Sam Hornish Jr. of Richard Childress Racing started at the top of the field Saturday.
He led a pack that had to contend with a track that was anything but kind. For those that love white-knuckle, high-speed racing, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course didn't provide that, as the track holds 13 turns and no banks.
On what started out as a sunny day, drivers were able to get two laps in before the caution flag came out because of rain.
As the conditions worsened, drivers hit pit road to change to rain radial tires as the laps remained live despite the weather, as NASCAR Xfinity showed:
While the race was under caution, trucks were sent out to the track to address puddles on certain turns. The green flag came out on Lap 10, when Owen Kelly jumped into the lead, but he didn't last a single lap in front, as he spun out on the wet track to give Hornish the lead back.
But Hornish was quickly overtaken by Marks on the 11th lap and immediately built a healthy lead of almost four seconds.
His advantage was quickly tightened after the race's second caution on Lap 14, but on the restart on Lap 19, Hornish spun out coming off the first turn and dropped back to 18th.
A lap later, he spun out again and was barely able to get off the grass, dropping down to 34th. Seconds later, points leader Elliott Sadler shot off the track and dropped back to 31st, prompting the third caution in the first 20 laps.
With all the moisture on the track and the abundance of cautions, NASCAR Xfinity couldn't help but joke about the conditions:
Darrell Wallace Jr. took first from Marks momentarily on Lap 28 as the track slowly began to dry after the rain, but he hit a slick turn seconds later and went into the grass.
After switching back to slick tires, Marks finally relinquished his lead on Lap 42, when he was passed by Andy Lally for first and Ty Dillon for second. But after Lally pitted to get fuel with 29 laps to go for the stretch run, Dillon went in front.
A lap later, Ryan Blaney powered his way to the lead, bullying his way to the inside of Dillon.
With 22 laps to go, the rain came back, presenting drivers with a decision on whether they wanted to change their tires once again for the final portion of the race.
Just before the restart, the leader, Kelly, who stayed out initially, went to the pits, giving Blaney a momentary lead. But on the restart, Blaney spun out, while Marks roared to the front.
After another caution packed the field tight again, Marks was passed by Wallace with 15 laps to go. But for the second straight time after taking the lead, he spun out, allowing Dillon to pass, with Marks right behind him.
With 10 to go, Dillon went too far outside and got caught in the dirt, allowing Marks to get back in front and build a huge lead. With eight laps to go, he was eight seconds ahead of Dillon.
At the six-lap mark, the lead was up to 11 seconds, but another caution, the eighth of the day, wiped it out with four to go.
He still managed to keep his lead on the restart with two to go and beat Hornish for the checkered flag by 3.7 seconds.
Hornish, who couldn't find a way to overcome Marks, couldn't help but be impressed with the way his opponent raced Saturday, via NASCAR Xfinity:
An emotional Marks was overcome upon winning his first Xfinity Series race, as NASCAR showed:
But he still took a moment to remember Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Bryan Clauson, who died Aug. 7 after a crash during an Aug. 6 race, via NASCAR.
The Xfinity Series is on its way to Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 300 on Aug. 19.
Stats courtesy of NASCAR.com.