Sam Hornish Jr. dominates Mid-Ohio Xfinity race to earn first career road course win
In a race that saw a number of wrecks in the final stage, Sam Hornish avoided all the mayhem and was not to be denied, capturing Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Challenge NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Driving the No. 22 Ford Fusion for Team Penske, Hornish dominated, leading four times for 61 laps -- including the final 14 -- in the 75-lap event to earn his first career win at Mid-Ohio, which he considers his home track.
It was Hornish’s fifth career Xfinity Series win and his first on a road course. He has three previous runner-up finishes on road courses, including his second-place showing last year at Mid-Ohio.
Finishing second through fifth were Daniel Hemric, Matt Tifft, James Davison and Andy Lally.
Sixth through 10th were Elliott Sadler, Brendan Gaughan, Brennan Poole, Justin Marks and Dakoda Armstrong.
Hornish won from the pole and had a car that was the class of the field. He was especially strong on restarts and took more of a defensive approach late in the race when there were several multi-car wrecks.
Two wrecks in the final stage stood out: a five-car crash involving Blake Koch, Ryan Reed, Spencer Gallagher and Jeremy Clements, and then a incident that involved 10 cars on Lap 69 that brought out the second red flag of the race.
STAGE WINNERS: Blake Koch (Stage 1), Hornish (Stage 2)
WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Hornish was the star of the day, but the rest of the top-five all earned Xfinity career-best finishes: Hemric (2nd), Tifft (3rd), Australian driver Davison (4th in his second career Xfinity event) and sports car racing veteran Andy Lally (5th).
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Matt Bell had a specatular crash on Lap 16, slamming into the Turn 1 tire barrier and then landing on top of it, resulting in a 13 1/2 minute red flag period to make repairs to the barrier and adjacent fence.
NOTABLE: Cole Custer wrecked his primary car in qualifying and had to go to a backup car. He had to be towed to the garage after just one lap to fix a fluid leak, but was able to return, running 54 laps and finishing 35th.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “With the luck we had in our first two races of the year (finished 37th and 34th, both at Iowa), I was wondering how today was going to turn out, but we had an almost flawless day.” – Race winner Sam Hornish Jr.
WHAT’S NEXT: Food City 300; Friday, August 18; 7:30 p.m. ET; Bristol Motor Speedway (on NBCSN).