Road America in the state of Wisconsin is a road-racing jewel for the Nationwide Series. A four-mile road course in Elkhart Lake, the track boasts 14 turns and elevation changes that exceed 170 feet in one lap. The famed course has hosted many series over the years, but this weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series makes its fifth return for the Gardner Denver 200 Fired Up by Johnsonville, on June 21st with television coverage on ABC at 2:45 p.m. ET.
For the Nationwide Series, Road America is the first of three road courses on the series schedule in 2014 – Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio are the other two. The track’s four-mile course is the largest of the three and it has the most turns at 14.
When it comes to road-course racing in the Nationwide Series, Road America has produced four different winners, none of whom are on the entry list, and that guarantees a fifth first-time winner at Road America this weekend.
Roush Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards captured the inaugural series’ event in 2010 at Road America from the pole. Then Turner Scott Motorsports rallied off two wins with Reed Sorenson in 2011 and Nelson Piquet Jr in 2012. Team Penske’s formidable No. 22 team with AJ Allmendinger won last season. Three of the four winners of this event have started from the pole position making the Coors Light Pole Qualifying on Saturday morning, an important precursor event for the race later in the day.
One driver looking for a reversal of fortune at the track is series’ point standings leader Regan Smith, who holds a 14-point lead over second-place Elliott Sadler. Smith is looking to rebound from last season’s finish at Road America of 32nd. It was one of only two races he finished outside the top-20 in 2013. Smith’s series average finish on road courses is 20.6.
In recent years, road-course racing is providing plenty of action with more drivers honing their skills turning left and right. This weekend highlights both the action and driver skill of road courses for both the Sprint Cup Series at Sonoma Raceway and the Nationwide Series at Road America. Which team provides the next ‘king of the road-course’ gives fans plenty of reason to tune in.