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Nationwide has a strong set of “ringers” at Road America

Jun 21, 2013, 11:45 AM EDT

Nelson Piquet Jr. AP

Brats, beer and cheese will greet the field at this weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Johnsonville Sausage 200 at Elkhart Lake, Wis.’ Road America.

We took at the list of “road course ringers” for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ race at Sonoma Raceway this weekend on Thursday. Here’s a look at the likely contending one-off drivers attempting to topple the regulars at Road America.

Purely based on equipment, expect Johnny O’Connell (No. 5 Hendrick Chevrolet), Billy Johnson (No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford), Michael McDowell (No. 18 Gibbs Toyota), AJ Allmendinger (No. 22 Penske Ford), Max Papis (No. 33 Childress Chevrolet) and Owen Kelly (No. 54 KBM Toyota) to lead the field of part-timers.

O’Connell is making his Nationwide debut but is a veteran sports car racer and champion in both Corvettes and Cadillacs. Johnson competes regularly for Roush in GRAND-AM’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge in a Ford Mustang. McDowell, Papis and Kelly have all starred in past Nationwide races at Road America, and Allmendinger will be primed to redeem himself for Penske after a disastrous IndyCar weekend in Detroit.

There are 46 cars attempting to qualify for 40 positions. The race goes green Saturday at 5 p.m. ET (check local listings).

  1. lotus49b - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    So sad that the “drivers” have to be replaced when right turns are involved.

    • cdawgredface - Jun 21, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      Fair point but it’s much less relevant these days. Most of the cars listed in this article usually have Sprint Cup drivers but they are in Sonoma, CA this weekend so they sub in guys that know their way around setting up and racing full bodied cars on road courses. The only relevant sub in the Cup race is Jacques Villeneuve in the #51. They happen to be running first practice as I’m typing and he’s 34th according to live timing and scoring in the car that Kurt Busch drove to 3rd place last year. So it’s not that sad.

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