Allmendinger, McDowell lead Nationwide practices at Mid-Ohio

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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)
  • Indy Lights: Pole: Gabby Chaves, 110.851 mph (1:13.3306)
  • Pro Mazda: Fastest Race Lap: Diego Ferreira, 1:20.216, Race 2 (Qualifying held in the rain)
  • USF2000: Pole: Neil Alberico, 100.555 mph (1:20.839)
  • Pirelli World Challenge: GT Pole: Alex Figge, 99.325 mph (1:21.840)