German Quiroga Jr. fastest in first Truck practice at Kentucky, Kyle Busch second-fastest

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He’s baaaack.

After skipping the last two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races, Kyle Busch is back behind the wheel at Kentucky Speedway — and looking for his fifth win of the season in Thursday night’s UNOH 225, the eighth race thus far in 2014.

And to almost no one’s surprise, Busch was right near the top of the speed chart in the first of two NCWTS practices Thursday.

German Quiroga Jr. was the fastest in the morning practice with a top speed of 175.501 mph.

But right behind Quiroga was the younger Busch brother, who recorded a fast lap of 175.291 mph, meaning he and Quiroga were the only two drivers to break the 175 mph barrier.

Third-fastest was Ryan Blaney (174.351 mph), followed by Joey Coulter (174.070), Timothy Peters (174.014), Darrell Wallace Jr. (173.885), Austin Dillon (173.377), Jeb Burton (173.327), Tayler Malsam (173.166) and Joe Nemecheck (173.005).

Johnny Sauter was 11th-fastest (172.778 mph), while 12th through 20th were Matt Crafton (172.678), Ben Kennedy (172.326), Ron Hornaday Jr. (172.293), Corey Lajoie (172.123), Brad Keselowski (171.799), Max Gresham (171.385), Bryan Silas (170.962), Mason Mingus (170.778) and John Wes Townley (170.713).

Tyler Young was 21st-fastest (169.492), followed by Caleb Holman (169.364), JJ Yeley (169.221), Jimmy Weller III (166.775), T.J. Bell (165.406), Justin Jennings (161.812) and Jennifer Jo Cobb (158.651).

Chase Pistone did not take any practice laps.

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MRTI: Juncos signs Carlos Cunha for Pro Mazda campaign

Photo: Juncos Racing
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Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.

Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.

“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”

Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”

Follow @KyleMLavigne