NASCAR Xfinity: Owen Kelly drives for JGR at Mid-Ohio
By AMANDA VINCENT
Joe Gibbs Racing has enlisted Owen Kelly to drive its No. 18 Toyota entry for Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. The Mid-Ohio race is the second-straight road-course event for the Xfinity Series and the second of three, overall, this season.
Matt Tifft originally was schedule to pilot the No. 18 at Mid-Ohio, but he remains sidelined as he continues to recovery from recent brain surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor.
“This is a great opportunity,” Kelly said. “I’d prefer it to be under different circumstances in regard to Matt’s health, but the good news is that he is on the mend, so I’m happy to help out the 18 team and I look forward to working with (crew chief) Chris Gayle also. The last time I ran Mid-Ohio was with JGR so it should all be familiar. I’d like to thank Joe Gibbs and the entire team for giving me this opportunity.”
Kelly has four-career NASCAR national-level starts, with three of those starts coming in the Xfinity Series. He made his series debut in 2010 and returned in 2013 for two road-course races at Mid-Ohio and Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Kelly drove for JGR in both of his 2013 Xfinity Series races, posting a career-best fourth-place finish at Road America. He finished 23rd at Mid-Ohio.
The No. 18 has been the dominant team in 2016 Xfinity Series competition, with most of those wins coming with Kyle Busch behind the wheel. Sam Hornish Jr. also drove the No. 18 to victory lane this season at Iowa Speedway in Newton.