The first public times for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course road course were revealed after the two practice sessions held Thursday for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200.
Three of the top five in Practice 2, where the fastest nine lap times of the day were set, have a substantial amount of road course experience and are victory contenders for the weekend. Road America winner AJ Allmendinger clocked in fastest at 95.550 mph (1:25.074) in the No. 22 Discount Tires Ford for Penske Racing, with Owen Kelly third in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports and Michael McDowell (pictured), who led Practice 1, in fourth in the No. 18 K-Love Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Parker Kligerman, in the No. 77 Bandit Choppers KBM Toyota, was an impressive second and Sam Hornish Jr. rounded out the top five in the No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Ford for Penske Racing.
Times should decrease as drivers get more comfortable with the braking zones and as the track rubbers in over the weekend. In the interim, here’s a look at the fastest times set by the five series in action at the track two weeks ago, the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Honda Indy 200. The Nationwide Series runs much heavier cars than do these others, but it’s interesting to note where they stack up.
IndyCar: Pole: Ryan Hunter-Reay, 124.385 mph (1:05.3519)
Diaz (right) is another prototype class veteran, with recent PC experience (8Star Motorsports and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports) added to his LMP2 days with Fernandez Racing.
All three of them also competed in Champ Car World Series races in Mexico City, with Gonzalez and Diaz part of a six-Mexican driver entry in the 2003 race (Adrian Fernandez, Michel Jourdain Jr., Mario Dominguez and Rodolfo Lavin).
Ricardo Gonzalez co-drives the No. 43 RGR Sport Ligier JS P2 Nissan with Bruno Senna and Filipe Albuquerque in the WEC.
Around two-thirds of the Formula E grid also race in the WEC, with the two championships preventing clashes so that drivers do not have to pick between them. As a result, it seems inevitable that one of the races will have to change date.
Jolyon Palmer felt “gutted” after a likely top-10 finish in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix was lost following a spin in the closing stages, costing him his first Formula 1 points.
2014 GP2 champion Palmer joined Renault for its return to F1 as a constructor in 2016, but arrived in Hungary without a point to his name from the opening 10 races of the season.
Palmer was left disappointed on Saturday after a red flag knocked him out of qualifying at the first hurdle, but a long first stint brought him into contention for points.
Palmer moved into the top 10 after jumping Nico Hulkenberg in the pits, only for Renault’s hard work to be undone when he spun off at Turn 4, losing three positions in the process.
The Briton was ultimately classified 12th after Esteban Gutierrez’s time penalty, extending his points drought to 11 races.
“I’m gutted as my first points in Formula 1 were there for the taking,” Palmer said.
“The car was good and I was driving well within myself in P10. I turned in the same as normal at turn four – I wasn’t hanging everything out and I was looking after the tires – but for some reason I lost the car in a massive snap.
“I need to look at everything with my engineers to see if there is anything we could have done to prevent it.
“I was running tenth, we had completed all our pit stops, we had good pace relative to those ahead and behind so it looks like we’ve made a real step forward this weekend.
“It was the best drive of my career today and just one small spin took away those points.
“I’m gutted today but I’ll be fighting to get in the same position or better in Hockenheim.”