By ROB HAMILTON
Most professional race car drivers who come to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course are very familiar with road courses, competing in series where those twists and turns are, if not the rule, at least frequently seen.
However, as NASCAR focuses on ovals, only traveling to a couple road courses every season, the act of putting down laps on the Morrow County track can be a bit of a learning experience for its drivers.
Such was the case of Landon Cassill Saturday. While this is the Nationwide Series’ second stop at Mid-Ohio, it was only his first try at the track, as he focused on the Sprint Cup race in Michigan that weekend last year.
“I’ve got a little bit (of road course experience),” he said. “I grew up racing as a kid in karts, but not in big-size cars until NASCAR and this is my first time at Mid-Ohio”.
Complicating things for the 25-year-old driver was that he was pulling double duty over the week. While the Nationwide Series is his main series, as far as competing for a points championship, he also competes in the Sprint Cup, so he had to balance his time between Morrow County and Michigan.
“I’m pulling double duty between this and Michigan,” he said. “Today (Friday), I’m taking practice at Mid-Ohio briefly. It’s definitely a tall order, but it’s cool to do it with a cool race car to introduce my sponsor, Bon Bon Boom, to the sport of NASCAR.”
Despite not having much experience with road courses, Cassill was able to finish a very respectable 14th place in Saturday’s race, which kept him in 11th place in the series points standings. Being able to race at Mid-Ohio was something he was looking forward to.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “Mid-Ohio is a historic track and provides a lot of good racing. I’ve played it on video games and knew about it growing up.”
He also noted that after racing a lot of ovals, being able to experience a different kind of track was a nice change of pace.
“This is our second week in a row on a road course — it’s nice to do something different,” he said. “Road course racing tends to be a little intense.”
Cassill had a lot of plans for the weekend, noting that he would be busy both on and off both racetracks.
“I’m looking forward to getting my first laps around and we’ll be doing a lot of promotions and giving stuff away,” he said. “To have two teams allowing me to do this and go back and forth, I’m pretty lucky.”
Reach Rob Hamilton at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807, or on Twitter at @SportsMCS