Dillion, Piquet, Jr., Set the Kentucky Tone in NCWTS Practice Sessions
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship leader and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) driver Austin Dillon joined Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) driver Nelson Piquet, Jr., at the top of the speed charts today during two Kentucky Speedway practice sessions.
Dillon, who won the pole for the Sept. 3, 2010 series event at the track and started this season's July 7 truck race in the commonwealth second, reeled off the fastest lap of the afternoon in the second session when he traversed the speedway's 1.5-mile tri-oval track at 178.400 mph (30.269 seconds). The result topped the series 178.141 mph (30.313 seconds) track-record qualifying lap laid down by Bill Lester on July 9, 2005.
The 21-year-old Dillon will take tomorrow night's "Kentucky 225" green flag looking to rebound from his 14th-place July finish at the track caused by a popped hood that blocked his vision and forced an unscheduled pit stop.
"We're running really fast speeds right now; track-record speeds. It's just because of how cool it is. The tires are just gripped up and it's just fast, which is really fun. We're really close to wide open and having a good time out there. It's just different from that perspective because we had the heat back in July and we were really sliding around. Now we're stuck to the track," he said.
Piquet, Jr., turned his best lap at 175.467 mph (30.775 seconds) in the first session and bettered that effort with a 177.136 mph (30.485 seconds) circuit in the second session. He started third in his July NCWTS Kentucky Speedway debut and placed 22nd.
"The truck handled good. Always with the cold weather, everything is better. The whole summer, we have been running at 100 degrees with tires melting and getting no more than five laps with consistent times. This weather makes it easier for everybody, but still there's going to be somebody quicker than you.
"We have a very good truck. Austin is just a bit quicker and I think he is closer to the ideal set up. We're good, but I don't think we have found the perfect set up yet," he said.
Two-time NCWTS Kentucky Speedway race winner Ron Hornaday, Jr., turned the third-fastest lap of the afternoon at 176.626 mph (30.573 seconds) in the No. 2 Hollywood Casino Chevrolet for KHI, ThorSport Racing's Matt Crafton delivered the fourth-fastest lap of both sessions at 176.563 mph (30.584 seconds) in the No. 88 Menards/Ideal Door Chevrolet and Joey Coulter, the highest ranked rookie in the series standings, charted the fifth-fastest practice lap at 176.401 mph (30.612 seconds) in the No. 22 RCR Graphics Center Chevrolet.
Drivers take the "Kentucky 225" green flag at 8:00 p.m. The 13th NCWTS event in track history concludes a jam-packed day of activity that features IZOD IndyCar Series practice and qualifying and NCWTS qualifying along with a 2:30 p.m. NCWTS autograph session.
Tickets, infield Fan Zone passes and campsites are available. Visit http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com for the complete weekend schedule.
Story by Mike Schmaltz