Hornish, Vickers top Nationwide practices
August 16, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Home-state favorite Sam Hornish Jr. closed out practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series with the fastest speed in preparation for the series’ inaugural race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Hornish, one of three drivers in the field with previous experience at Mid-Ohio, turned a best lap of 96.553 mph in the No. 12 Penske Racing Ford around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course.
Brian Vickers was Friday’s most consistent driver -- first in the day’s opening practice and second in the final session in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. He led the first session with a 96.069 mph lap, then bettered his speed with a 96.230 mph lap in final preparation for Saturday’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), the first-ever event for a NASCAR national series on the historic track.
Ron Fellows, AJ Allmendinger and Regan Smith completed the top five in final practice. Nelson Piquet Jr., Allmendinger, Owen Kelly and Hornish were second through fifth in the first practice.
Marcos Ambrose and Austin Dillon, the only two drivers competing in both the Nationwide event and Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, were not present for Friday practice at Mid-Ohio. Ryan Truex substituted for Ambrose, driving the No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford to a 17th-best lap in the early session and 18th-best in the final session. Jason Bowles filled in for series points leader Dillon, piloting the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to 19th-fastest on the speed chart in morning practice and 15th-fastest in the afternoon.
NASCAR officials extended both of Friday’s practice sessions by five minutes because of caution periods. Michael McDowell, T.J. Bell and Ron Fellows each brought out yellow flags with solo spins in the first practice. A collision between Fellows and Tim Cowen late in final practice drew the other extension.