Habul. Marks. O’Connell.
Maybe not household names in the vocabulary of most NASCAR fans, but this weekend, they’ll get their time to shine.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series is running its second consecutive road course race this weekend, with this one taking place at a relatively new track for the sport’s second-tier division: the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
In last year’s event, AJ Allmendinger led 73 of the 94 laps as he recorded his second career Nationwide Series win. But this year, there are multiple road course ringers that are prepared to tackle the 2.258-mile track.
Alex Tagliani is taking over the reign of the No. 22 Ford Mustang for Team Penske this weekend. Running the full slate in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, he is set to make his second Nationwide Series start of the year. At Road America, he was just shy of edging out Brendan Gaughan for the victory. In five career starts, Tagliani has two runner-up finishes, as well as 37 laps led.
Kenny Habul returns to the wheel of the No. 20 Toyota Camry with Joe Gibbs Racing. As part of a multi-race deal, his Sun Energy 1 company will be aboard the car for one of the top teams in NASCAR. The No. 20 car currently sits fifth in Nationwide Series owner points, 104 points back of the organization’s No. 54 car. In eight career races, Habul’s best finish was a 14th-place result at Road America earlier this year.
Justin Marks will be making his second Nationwide Series start of the year for Turner Scott Motorsports. Until he got caught up in an accident at Road America, the 33-year-old was running inside of the top 10 for the majority of the race. However, in nine career starts, he has never earned a finish better than 24th, which he recorded earlier this year as well as in 2009 at Memphis.
Other notable road course specialists that are entered in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 include Kevin O’Connell for Rick Ware Racing, Bobby Reuse for Mike Harmon Racing, Tim Cowen for DRG Motorsports, Stanton Barrett for Rick Ware Racing and Tomy Drissi for JGL Racing.
The Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 will be run this Saturday, Aug. 16. Coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.