Ryan Blaney was the fastest driver overall in Thursday's two practice sessions for Friday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway. (Photo credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Jeb Burton, Ryan Blaney fastest in Thursday’s two Truck series practices at Kansas

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The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has not been on a race track for nearly six weeks, the last time being March 29 at Martinsville Speedway.

But even with the lengthy layoff, Jeb Burton and Ryan Blaney proved that the time off didn’t affect them adversely, as they were atop the heap of the two NCWTS practice sessions held Thursday afternoon at Kansas Speedway.

Burton put his No. 13 Toyota at the top of the speed charts in the first afternoon practice, covering the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway layout at 175.530 mph.

Ryan Blaney was second-fastest (175.165 mph), followed by Brian Ickler (174.820), Matt Crafton (174.769) and Ben Kennedy (174.735).

Sixth through 10th in the first session were Kyle Busch (174.689), Joey Logano (174.627), Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. (174.312), German Quiroga Jr. (173.801) and series veteran Ron Hornaday Jr. (173.734).

Only 28 trucks took part in the first practice, with Charles Lewandowski (160.671) and Norm Benning (157.054) the slowest of the bunch.

As for the second practice, Blaney had the fastest overall speed of the day at 176.148 mph, followed closely by Ben Kennedy (176.016 mph).

Joey Logano was third-fastest in the second session (175.063), followed by Timothy Peters (174.712) and Kyle Busch (174.678).

Sixth- through 10th-fastest were Burton (174.667), Austin Dillon (174.644), Tayler Malsam (174.312), Crafton (174.222) and Quiroga (174.087).

A total of 29 drivers took to the track for the latter session, with Scott Stenzel (28th-fastest, 157.159 mph) and Ryan Ellis (29th-fastest, 156.074 mph) as the only drivers failing to eclipse 160 mph.

NCWTS qualifying takes place Friday at 4:40 pm ET, with the SFP 250 race slated to take the green flag at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
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We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.

IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.

View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via IndyCar.com.

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.