Almirola, Johnson top Friday practices at Talladega

1 Comment

One day after his crew chief, Todd Parrott, was suspended indefinitely for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy, Richard Petty Motorsports’ Aric Almirola flexed his No. 43 Ford Fusion’s muscle during Friday practice at Talladega Superspeedway.

Almirola (pictured) topped the first of two sessions with a blistering lap of 202.000 miles per hour around the massive 2.66-mile oval, which will play host to Sunday’s Camping World RV Sales 500.

The RPM pilot was one of 11 drivers to bust the 200-mph barrier during the opening practice, which mostly involved drafting with other cars. His lap was just a touch quicker than Jeff Burton’s lap of 201.987 mph  in the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

The slowest of those drivers within the 200+ mph bracket was Jimmie Johnson, who then followed up by leading the day’s second session (which leaned more toward single-car runs rather than drafting work).

Johnson topped out at 195.936 mph in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, and was followed by Front Row Motorsports’ Josh Wise (195.892 mph) and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin (195.333 mph).

Chase leader Matt Kenseth only logged eight laps in the second practice session, posting a lap good enough for 17th on the time sheets (191.252 mph). In Practice 1, Kenseth was 12th-fastest (199.492 mph).

Tomorrow afternoon, the Sprint Cup contingent will qualify for Sunday’s main event at 12:10 p.m. ET.

MRTI: Telitz gets creative to help racing career

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
Leave a comment

To say that Belardi Auto Racing’s Aaron Telitz has endured a difficult start to the 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season would be an understatement. The Wisconsin native only completed four corners through the first three races – Races 1 and 2 at St. Petersburg, and Race 1 at Barber Motorsports Park – with St. Pete being especially problematic.

He took the pole for Race 1, but a crash during qualifying for Race 2 prevented him from actually starting. What’s more, the damage was so severe that the Belardi team needed a brand new chassis, with Telitz’s Dallara IL-15 damaged beyond repair.

They also had to borrow a car from Carlin for Race 2, but Telitz’s race ended after he got tangled up with Victor Franzoni in Turn 2 on Lap 1.

With the damage bill well into the six figures as a result, Telitz has taken to some unique, or rather, creative ways to raise money in the aftermath to help cover the costs. “Creative,” in this case, meaning Telitz is using his art skills.

An artist in his spare time, Telitz has begun selling his own original paintings to help raise money.

 “I’ve been to a lot of art shows and I see stuff and I go, ‘Holy cow, someone’s going to pay a thousand dollars for that thing?’” Telitz quipped in a story posted on the Milwaukee Journal.

In discussing his artistic abilities, Telitz added, “I’m working at getting better. I’d like to be able to paint some animals, those types of things. I got a request from Alexander Rossi to see if I could paint his dog. Unfortunately I can’t do that yet.”

Further, in a partnership with The Styled Garage, Telitz is selling his own merchandise, and accepting donations, to help his cause.

Telitz finished fourth in Race 2 at Barber on Sunday, and sits seventh in the Indy Lights championship, 59 points behind leader Pato O’Ward.

Follow@KyleMLavigne