Nationwide Begins Road-Course Double

B.Gaughan

Brendan Gaughan, a winner earlier this season at Road America, goes for his second straight road-course victory in Saturday's Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. (Photo: Getty Images)

NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers will have a pair of road-course races to tackle in the next two weeks with trips to Watkins Glen International and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The series already has one road race under its belt after a June visit to Road America.  Now it faces back-to-back weekends of turning both left and right beginning Saturday with the Zippo 200 at The Glen.

"Watkins Glen has so many fast corners," explained Brendan Gaughan, who scored his first career Nationwide win at Road America earlier this year.  "The 'bus stop' is basically a corner built into chaos.  You have to let the car roll as hard as possible.  It's a place on that course where you can't gain that much position, but you can lose a ton.  Many other road courses are much more speedway-fast, motor-wise, while 'The Glen' is faster with corner speeds."

Gaughan - who will be joined by Richard Childress Racing teammates Ty Dillon, Brian Scott and Paul Menard in Saturday’s race - feels that his organization is poised to have another strong run and perhaps a second straight road-course win.

"All the RCR teams are going to be very competitive," he said.  "If you look at the entire package we all had at Road America, we were very strong.  I'm going to go into Watkins Glen with a lot of confidence, feeling sporty.  We all have positive attitudes heading into these next two weeks."

Dillon, who won two weeks ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and followed that with a top-five finish last Saturday night at Iowa Speedway, is locked into the tight Nationwide Series points battle.  Chase Elliott leads Regan Smith by two with Dillon and Elliott Sadler only 12 behind.

That makes a good run at "The Glen" even more important to the rookie driver.

"We're really hitting our stride," said Dillon.  "We were able to pick up another top five this past weekend in Iowa following the win at Indianapolis.  I think this shows how we didn't give up after a slow start to the season.  ECR Engines continues to give us the best motors in the sport and all the guys in the shop continue to put a lot of hours into making these racecars top-notch."

However, Dillon has limited road racing experience and has worked on getting as much track time as possible to prepare for the upcoming two-week stretch.  He’s hoping that will be beneficial when the green flag flies Saturday afternoon.

"I'm learning a lot, for sure," he said.  "I've been getting a lot of good advice and have been able to get valuable track time at both Road America and Watkins Glen before the race weekend begins.  The Trans-Am test I did last Monday with Austin (Dillon) helped with learning the corners, when to shift and where you can pick up the most speed."

Motor Racing Network - "The Voice of NASCAR" - will have live coverage of Saturday's Zippo 200 at The Glen starting at 1:45 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com.

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