Skinner, Cook Strongest in Kentucky Speedway NCWTS Practice Sessions
Thirty-nine NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers opened the third 2009 Kentucky Speedway race weekend with a one-hour, 45-minute practice session this afternoon.
Randy Moss Motorsports driver Mike Skinner led the session with a 170.870-mph (31.603 seconds) lap in his No. 5 Exide Batteries Toyota. Brian Scott, who earned his first NCWTS victory at Dover International Speedway on May 30, was second fastest in the session with a 170.004-mph (31.764 seconds) lap in the No. 16 Albertsons Chevrolet. The second-year driver was followed by veteran Terry Cook, who tore off the third-fastest lap of the session at 169.913-mph (31.781 seconds) in the No. 25 Harris Trucking/Cajun Industries Toyota.
Skinner maintained his top form on a track where he earned last year's "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" pole award before closing out the race seventh. The run marked his second straight and third career top-10 NCWTS finish in Kentucky and came one year after he scored an NCWTS victory here from the fourth starting position.
"Our set-up is actually similar to the set-up Jeff Hensley and I won this race with. Ours is conservative compared to others. It's not quite as sweet, but we're looking for speed and balance. The surface is a little rough in spots, but I'd race around here if it was dirt. I love this place," Skinner said.
Scott rides a string of two top-five finishes into his second NCWTS Kentucky Speedway start tomorrow night. He placed 32nd in last season's event, just one night after starting from the pole position and finishing fifth in a 150-mile ARCA RE/MAX Series race at the track. He earned the ARCA RE/MAX Series pole with a 176.211-mph (30.645 seconds) lap.
Cook scored his fourth career NCWTS Kentucky top-10 finish with an eighth-place "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" showing last season.
"The entire HT Motorsports team did a great job prepping the truck. It's a brand new truck and it's really good right now, but we're still trying to fine tune and get some bugs out. So far, things are going pretty well," Cook said.
The Sylvania, Ohio, driver returned following the ARCA RE/MAX Series practice session to led the evening NCWTS practice with a 171.516-mph (31.484 seconds) lap.
Stacy Compton continued the session's Ohio theme by turning the second-fastest lap at 171.456-mph (31.495 seconds) in the No. 60 SafeAuto Insurance Toyota fielded by Cincinnati-based Wyler Racing.
The Grit, Va., veteran scored a Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Nationwide Series pole award and fourth-place finish in 2003 before placing 12th in last season's NCWTS event.
"This is the best truck I've had all year. We were good in race trim and that last time, we went out, did a qualifying run and went straight to the top of the board. Kentucky is a good place to have a good truck. It's the hometown for the Wyler's and SafeAuto. This is a new truck and we're pretty excited about the opportunity," Compton said.
Red Horse Racing competitor T.J. Bell was third-fastest in final practice with a 170.956-mph (31.587 seconds) circuit. He will make his fourth career NCWTS Kentucky start tomorrow night hoping to better his track-best 16th-place finish from 2005.
The series returns to the track at 6:30 p.m., for final practice. ARCA RE/MAX Series practice is up next. Practice sessions end tonight at 9 p.m.
Action continues tomorrow with a doubleheader featuring the NCWTS "Built Ford Tough 225 Presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers" followed by the ARCA RE/MAX Series "Click It or Ticket. Buckle-Up! Kentucky 150." The day also includes a concert with classic country music artist Lee Greenwood.
Tickets remain and will be on sale at the Kentucky Speedway Main Gate at 1 p.m.
Story by Mike Schmaltz
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