LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Sam Hornish Jr. Nate Solder Giants Jersey . thinks he has a home-track advantage. "While Mid-Ohio is so close to my home and my heart, at the same time its a place where Ive got almost as many races here as a fan as I do as a driver," the Defiance, Ohio, native said Friday during practice a day before the NASCAR Nationwide series race. Hornish, who has raced several times in competition at the track, believes he has some insider knowledge. "I feel like Ive got a good idea of what the car needs to do and what I need to do as the driver to go out and be successful here," he said. "Yeah, we want to go out and be fast. But the biggest thing about this form of racing -- running on a road course -- is taking care of the equipment." Hornish, one of the series top drivers on tracks that require more than right turns, finished with a rush a year ago at Mid-Ohio. He made a run at the lead on the final lap before ending up behind AJ Allmendinger, winner of the inaugural Nationwide event, and pole-winner Michael McDowell. He could have applied even more pressure, he said, if Allmendinger hadnt been one of his Penske teammates. "I had to play a little bit nicer than I probably would have," he said with a laugh. "All that being said, I feel pretty good about the car that I have." Hornish, with no fulltime sponsor but driving this week for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Monster Energy Toyota, has dreamed of winning at the twisting track located in picturesque farmland midway between Columbus and Cleveland. His odds improved when Allmendinger elected to focus on the Sprint Cup race in Michigan this weekend. Hornish was third during Fridays practice behind Justin Marks and Chris Buescher. Qualifying is Saturday morning, with the race later in the day. One of Hornishs chief adversaries figures to be series points leader Chase Elliott, who has never driven at Mid-Ohio. He watched videos and memorized notes from last years race provided by driver Ron Fellows, with whom he has studied the nuances of road courses. Even though he finished fourth at Road America and sixth last week at Watkins Glen on road courses, Elliott hasnt been pleased with his efforts. But he is hoping that hes getting the hang of the quick braking, rapid acceleration and sharp turns that are required on such a layout. "Im just putting all that stuff together and making sure I do a good job," he said. "Ill get all the practice that is offered. Ill try to learn and hopefully itll be good enough." Elliott, at the wheel of owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.s Chevrolet, was ninth after Fridays practice runs but is looking for improvement. Brendan Gaughan, fifth in practice, won at scenic Road America and has his own theory on what it takes to win on a road course. "If you dont get in rhythm out there, you can really screw yourself up," he said, calling Mid-Ohio an "extremely technical road course." Alex Tagliani, who was second at Road America, had the seventh-best practice time. "Its a track that changes quite a bit from practice to qualifying," he said about Mid-Ohio. "The level of grip is going to go high. And the speed is going to increase tremendously." Kareem Martin Jersey . On a hot, sweaty day, the Hall of Famer looked cool and comfortable. Will Hernandez Giants Jersey . The same for both the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers. http://www.nygiantsfanatic.com/c-86-giants-jonathan-stewart-jersey.aspx . The actual winners on transfer deadline day are those clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City who were well prepared and managed to get their main incoming business done well ahead of the transfer window closing. Tottenham were able to add seven players by spending over 100 million pounds and also ensured maximum return for the Gareth Bale transfer to Real Madrid by managing the move superbly.Five Quick Thoughts for a Monday: 1. NORRIS COLE (Heat): Its funny, you watch a guy play and now really produce and it just jumps off the page at you - why? You put a young player with potential in a winning environment where there is veteran leadership, outstanding coaching and management and a way that things are done and its a wonderful environment for growth, improvement in a climate of constant accountability and expectation of achievement/production. When he was drafted out of Cleveland State this was a young man who could go either way as a pro but the professionalism of the team that drafted him has been a wonderful place for him to be nurtured and educated on how to be a good pro. Hes really impressed me with his play off the bench and has made a significant difference against Indiana in key moments. Proper environment truly does effect outcomes. 2. INDY DEFENCE: Im sorry but the Pacers have NO chance of winning this series if they continue to allow the Heat to shoot 50 per cent plus as theyve done in all of the first three games. The Pacers have been an outstanding defensive team the past few years and thats their "calling card" - it sure aint their offence! To think that youre going to run up and down with the Heat and match buckets - good luck with that. The small/skilled lineups that the Heat throw out there are making Roy Hibbert and David West ineffective to say the least. Its easy to say but hard to do, but the Pacers have to start mucking it up and make this a much more physical and hotly contested defensive style of play. Miami is a flow team and if you allow them to get in rhythm and swing the ball with minimal resistance you might as well set up tee times for next week. The D had better be drastically better on Monday night or this series will wind down quickly. 3. SERGE IBAKA and REGGIE JACKSON (Thunder): A combined 30 points from two starters vs. minimal production from Nick Collison and Thabo Sefolosha - what a difference! Add another playmaker in Jackson (five assists) to the mix and suddenly the ball moves with a purpose and they look like a "team" instead of an "iso show" and then Ibaka was brilliant coming back from the injury with seven boards and four blocks - talk about impact performance. Suddenly the rim/paint was being protected and the Thunder played with some force and swagger defensively and on the boards. Good players used properly and healthy enough to play changes how things go drastically. Winning is really hard and you need your top guys there or you are overwhelmed at times. Now that looked like the OKC Thunder on Sunday night. If theyy can continue to play that way weve got a series that will go seven games. Ray-Ray Armstrong Jersey. 4. NBA DRAFT: You watch the Playoffs so far and the thing that continues to jump out at me is how the NBA has changed over the years. How that reflects on this years Draft is that if youre the Cavs and the Bucks with the first two picks youve really got to think long and hard about how Joel Embiids game fits in the league today versus the upside over a 10-12 year period of guys like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. This has become a perimeter-based league with skilled guys who can do it all versus the traditional brand of power basketball which still has its place in the game...yet at what price? Always a terrific philosophical discussion for GMs, executives and coaches to hash out. 5. POTENTIAL VS. PRODUCTION (Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors): You can talk about the No. 20, 37 and 59 picks in this years Draft that the Raptors have and the free agent decisions and possible moves that GM Masai Ujiri can make this off-season. But for the Raptors to continue to improve and take nice gradual building steps over the next few years the significant improvement in every respect from these two youngsters is paramount. Players are made in the off-season and teams are developed in-season. Will these two young men pay the price between now and early October and come back stronger, more skilled, more knowledgeable and ready to be consistent winning pieces that take an organization from respectable to another gear? Only time will tell. "To whom much is given (major minutes and starting opportunities as sophomores), much is expected." Cant wait to see what both young men come back like in the Fall. Their improvement/development will define the next step for the Raptors. Lots of attention will be focused on the role of head coach Dwane Casey and his staff along with the support staff in the further growth of both guys but in my opinion its a whole lot more now on these two guys personally of how bad do they want to be next level players? When you reach your third year as a pro its time for you to be able to "figure it out" on your own and the coaches are there to guide you on the proper path - yet its on YOU. Its time to be consistent producers in every respect. How these young men (I really like both of them) take personal ownership of their professional careers will set the stage for the long-term direction of the Raptors and the moves Ujiri needs to make accordingly to fill in the blanks. The proper environment exists for both to improve significantly - now its on them to seize the opportunity given to them. 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