With the NASCAR Sprint Cup series heading to Sonoma, CA this weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin along with the GRAND-AM Road Racing series. It’s not all left turns for the Nationwide series at Road America. It’s going to be wild crazy! The NNS will feature group qualifying, rain tires and other inclement-weather equipment, if needed.
At 4.048 miles, Road America is the longest track in NASCAR’s national series. Saturday’s race in Elkhart Lake represents the first of three road course races on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule over the next three months. Watkins Glen is up next in July and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve closes the roadies out in August.
RECAP – 2011
Reed Sorenson ended up in Victory Lane after leader Justin Allgaier ran out of gas on the final lap of a second green-white-checkered attempt – which was under caution. Ron Fellows was penalized for passing under yellow on that last lap, which he angrily felt was undeserved. A late-race dispute between Villeneuve and Max Papis wascreated by an aggressive pass by Villeneuve that spun Papis out of contention.
The series championship battles have been between reigning champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliott Sadler – who regained the points lead from Stenhouse three races ago. Although, keep in mind, Austin Dillon remains only 8 points behind points leader, Sadler. Dillon can become the first in the Nationwide series history to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors and the series championship in the same season. The previous best overall series finish by a rookie of the year driver contender was second in 2004 by Kyle Busch.
WHAT’S UP AT ROAD AMERICA?
- Kurt Busch will travel to and from Sonoma to race his brother Kyle’s No. 54 KBM Toyota. Colin Braun has been tapped to practice the car for Busch while he is in Sonoma.
- This race will mark Danica Patrick’s second start on an NNS road course but her first NASCAR trip to Road America. She made her NASCAR road course debut last year in Montreal, where she finished 24th. She is currently 11th in the series standings.
- Jacques Villeneuve, will drive the No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge – back for a third try to win at Road America
- Ron Fellows, who feels he has unfinished business from last year’s race, returns driving the No. 5 for JR Motorsports.
- After spending the last six weeks sidelined due to injuries received during a late-race accident at Talladega Superspeedway on May 5, Eric McClure has been medically cleared to return to the seat of his Hefty®/Reynolds Wrap® Camry.
- NCWTS drivers Nelson Piquet Jr. (No. 30) and Miguel Paludo (#32) will compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series SARGENTO 300 at Road America on Saturday for Turner Motorsports. It will be Paludo’s first Nationwide Series start and Piquet’s third.
- Max Papis will be the driver, first 2012 start, of the Menards Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Papis has been serving as a driving coach for Austin Dillon this season. Student now meets teacher at Road America.
GOODYEAR TIRE NOTES:
Teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series will run the same Goodyear tire code on all four tire positions at Road America . . . this is the same code that Nationwide teams ran at Road America last season. These teams also ran this tire at Watkins Glen in 2011. As on all NASCAR road courses, teams will not run inner liners in their tires.
Wet Weather Tires: Goodyear will also bring 725 wet weather radials for use at Road America, should NASCAR decide that conditions warrant.