August 15, 2014, Pat DeCola, NASCAR.com
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What: Second annual Nationwide Children's Hospital 200
Where: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
When: Saturday, August 16
TV/Radio: ESPN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (2:45 p.m. ET)
Distance: 90 laps; 203.22 miles
Front row starters:
Sam Hornish, Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, No. 54 Toyota
Alex Tagliani, Team Penske, No. 22 Ford
Former Mid-Ohio winners in the field: None
He said it: "They've got an announcement on Tuesday?" -- Sam Hornish Jr., when asked if he was going to be involved in Joe Gibbs Racing's announcement on Tuesday.
He said it II: "No, definitely not." -- Chase Elliott, on if he considers himself a "road racer," despite his first NASCAR national series win coming at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and a pair of top-10s at Road America and Watkins Glen this year.
He said it III: "I haven’t been here in two decades. That's longer than some of my teammates have even been alive." -- Brendan Gaughan, on making his return to Mid-Ohio.
The favorite: Sam Hornish Jr. finished third here last year for Team Penske and has been the class of the field so far this weekend in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, topping the first practice session and finishing third in the second. Hornish grew up two hours from the track, spending countless hours here as a fan and a driver of many different types of vehicles. In six series starts this year, Hornish has one win and four top-fives.
Road course revenge?: While Saturday could certainly be a different story, Ty Dillon might have the upperhand on potential road course rival Chase Elliott this weekend, as his No. 3 Chevrolet was faster in both practice sessions than Elliott's No. 9 Chevy. As you'll recall, Elliott controversially spun Dillon in the closing seconds of last year's race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park to pick up his first national series win.
Dillon do right: Ty Dillon has also been impressive in his Nationwide Series rookie campaign overall, continuing to be in the top 20 week in and week out. In 21 races this season, he's the only driver to do so in every event.
Buescher bringing it: Roush Fenway Racing's Chris Buescher not qualifying for the Nationwide Series opener at Daytona seems like forever ago because -- well, it was in February -- but also because he's picked it up since then with seven top-10 finishes in his rookie season. His runner-up finish in the final practice on Friday indicates he could be headed for his eighth.
Cup half empty: Or perhaps, Cup fully empty, because there are no Sprint Cup Series drivers in the field at Mid-Ohio this weekend, meaning that we could see a full-time Nationwide Series driver win for just the eighth time this year.