Road America Checkered and Black Flags

J.Clements

MRN's Pete Pistone recaps an eventful day at Road America that produced a lot of ups and downs for many drivers and teams. (Photo: Getty Images)

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An eventful day at Road America produced a lot of ups and downs for many drivers and teams.

Checkered Flags 

Jeremy Clements
David beating Goliath has become all but impossible in today’s NASCAR. But when it does happen, it's pretty special. That was the case Sunday when Clements - a 32-year-old independent driver from Spartanburg, S.C. - found a way to beat the big names and teams in the series to capture his first win.

Michael Annett
JR Motorsports already has three drivers in the playoffs and may have the entire stable if things keep going right for Annett. His second-place finish on Sunday put him in prime position to join his three teammates in the championship run.

Matt Tifft
He could have easily been the one celebrating in Victory Lane on Sunday, but contact with Clements ended that possibility as the duo was battling for the lead late in the race. Tifft rebounded to finish third and was impressive in handling disappointment with great composure.

Brendan Gaughan
His team set up for what they thought would be wet conditions early in the race but when the sun came out instead, major adjustments needed to be made. An early pit stop rectified the handling issues and Gaughan charged from the rear of the field to a fifth-place finish.

Road America
NASCAR’s decision to bring the Xfinity Series to the twisting Wisconsin road course has been a home run since Day 1. The eighth edition of the race generated another example of why stand-alone series races on road courses are special. The sanctioning body would be wise to follow that formula for more success in the future.

Black Flags

Ryan Reed
A difficult day for the Roush Fenway Racing driver, who has gone through many in recent weeks. His season-opening Daytona win as a playoff entre may be in jeopardy if Reed can’t maintain a spot high enough in the point standings as part of the eligibility criteria.

Austin Cindric
The young driver made his Xfinity Series debut and started from the pole after qualifying was cancelled and the grid was lined up by owner points. But he had trouble in the pits and on track. After losing the day’s ARCA race earlier on the last lap, Sunday was a bitter pill to swallow for the young driver.

James Davison
After a great finish two weeks ago at Mid-Ohio, the Australian driver looked to improve on that performance and got off to a good start by leading early. But a speeding penalty on pit road was the beginning of problems that ended up with Davison in the garage and out of the race.

Saturday Race
The tradition of the annual trip to Road America has always been that it's a Saturday main event. That changed this year as the race moved to Sunday, to fill some of the void of the Cup Series' off-weekend. However, it impacted many fans' driving from far-away distances to come and camp using Sunday for the return home. It also changed some of the vibe at the track. Thankfully, next year's Road America event returns to a Saturday slot.

Weather Guessers
There was a 100 percent chance of rain in the forecast up to three hours before the scheduled green flag, with some predicting monsoons and flash floods in the area. All that happened was a few passing sprinkles, some of which couldn’t even be classified as light showers. I’m not a fan of racing in the rain and glad that didn’t happen on Sunday. But weather forecasters missed it this weekend by a country mile.

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.

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