Nationwide heads to Road AmericaJun 20, 2012 - 3:51 PM Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - While the Sprint Cup Series runs at Infineon Raceway in Northern California, the Nationwide Series also competes on a road course this weekend at Road America in Northeast Wisconsin.
At 4.048 miles in length, Road America is the longest track on any of NASCAR's three national touring series. The course is located in Elkhart Lakes, which is roughly 60 miles north of Milwaukee. Nationwide ran at this track for the first time in 2010 when it replaced The Milwaukee Mile on the schedule.
Two years ago, Carl Edwards put on a dominating performance in the inaugural race at Road America, leading 35 of 50 laps. But Edwards had to wrestle the lead away from Canadian Jacques Villeneuve after a restart with nine laps remaining. Villeneuve suffered engine failure on the final lap, allowing Ron Fellows, also from Canada, to take over the second spot. Fellows finished 4.3 seconds behind Edwards, while Villeneuve placed 25th.
In what was a very confusing finish, Reed Sorenson won last year's race at Road America. Sorenson drove for Turner Motorsports at the time.
The race featured three green-white-checkered attempts for several wrecks in the closing laps. Sorenson's then-teammate, Justin Allgaier, held the lead on the final lap, but after the caution flag waved for an incident involving Aric Almirola, Allgaier ran out of fuel and stalled on the course. Fellows then passed Sorenson, and it appeared at first that Fellows took the lead. But NASCAR reviewed the finish for several minutes and determined that Fellows advanced his position after the yellow flag had been displayed. Sorenson was then declared the winner.
Saturday's race will feature a third different winner at Road America, since Edwards and Sorenson are not entered in the event.
Fellows and Villeneuve are scheduled to compete in this race, with Fellows driving the No. 5 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports and Villeneuve behind the wheel of the No. 22 Dodge for Penske Racing.
"I have competed in a lot of races with JR Motorsports, and it's been great fun," Fellows said. "They have an amazing group of people, and we've been competitive at almost all of the races. That's what brings me back and keeps me young."
Villeneuve is also slated to drive the No. 22 car in the August 18 race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.
"I appreciate Penske Racing giving me the opportunity to get back behind the wheel of the No. 22 Dodge this season," he said. "Road America and Montreal are two of my favorite racetracks. I feel, after winning the pole last year at Montreal, that we can have a lot of success. A NASCAR victory is something I want."
Elliott Sadler comes to Road America with an eight-point lead over second- place and Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon, who is a rookie in Nationwide this season. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the defending series champion, is now 27 points out of the lead. Stenhouse has finished 25th or worse in the past three races -- Charlotte, Dover and Michigan.
"After the past few weeks, we look forward to Road America," Stenhouse said. "After testing at (Virginia International Raceway) in May, I feel like I learned a few things that can help me succeed at the road course tracks. We finished eighth (at Road America) last year, so we are looking to improve on that finish. Our main focus this weekend is to leave Road America with a solid finish."
Forty-five teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Sargento 200.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, June 23. Race: Sargento 200. Site: Road America. Track: 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course. Start time: 3:30 p.m. (et). Laps: 50. Miles: 202.4. 2011 Winner: Reed Sorenson. Television: ESPN. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Satellite.
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