Kwasniewski leads first Nationwide test session at Daytona

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Opening their own two-day Preseason Thunder test at Daytona International Speedway, the NASCAR Nationwide Series has completed this morning’s session at the “World Center of Racing.”

Topping the charts in the morning was Turner Scott Motorsports’ Dylan Kwasniewski (pictured, right). Kwasniewski, 18, the reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion, posted a lap at 183.408 mph in the No. 31 machine.

It was just enough to out-pace former Camping World Truck Series champion James Buescher, now driving for RAB Racing in Nationwide. Buescher was second on the charts at 183.397 mph in the No. 99.

Another TSM driver, Sprint Cup rookie of the year candidate Kyle Larson, took the No. 32 to P3 in the session at 182.786 mph. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Elliott Sadler was fourth (179.827) and Richard Childress Racing’s Ty Dillon rounded out the Top 5 (179.394).

Former Sprint Cup champion Bill Elliott, who is joining his son, Chase, and Regan Smith in testing for JR Motorsports this weekend, was eighth this morning after posting a lap of 178.944 mph. Smith was 11th (178.144) and Chase Elliott was 16th (177.354).

Kwasniewski and Larson each ran 30 laps in the morning, tying for the most among all drivers. Right now, the teams are taking a break before returning to action from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET.


Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.