Ron Hornaday Jr. leads rain-shortened Friday PM Truck practice

Leave a comment

Four-time Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. topped a rain-abbreviated second Friday practice for the Trucks at Martinsville Speedway.

Sprinkles of rain at the half-mile oval caused two brief stoppages during the session before a bigger shower caused NASCAR to end things early by almost 15 minutes.

Hornaday was quickest with a lap of 19.690 seconds (96.171 mph) in the No. 30 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet. He set his fast time on the 25th of 29 laps he ran in the session.

Haas Racing Development’s Cole Custer was second-quickest in the No. 00 Chevy with a lap of 19.817 seconds (95.554 mph), followed by another TSM driver, Ben Rhodes, in third position in his No. 32 Chevy (19.859 seconds/95.352 mph). NTS Motorsports’ Gray Gaulding was fourth-quickest (19.862/95.338) and Thorsport Racing’s Johnny Sauter was P5 (19.921/95.055).

Joey Coulter, Ryan Blaney, Darrell Wallace Jr. (the leader in this morning’s practice), Brian Ickler, and John Hunter Nemechek rounded out the Top 10.

Qualifying for the Kroger 250 will take place at 11:10 a.m. ET tomorrow morning, followed by the race itself later on at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.