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: Saturday Barber Notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Both the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires completed their first races of the weekend on Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park.

Indy Lights saw a pair of teammates battle for the win, while a series veteran suffered first lap trouble for the second race in a row.

In Pro Mazda, things were much more straightforward, as a title contender ran away to a dominant win from the pole.

Reports on both series are below.

Indy Lights: O’Ward Withstands Herta Challenge for Race 1 Victory

Lap 1 told the tale for Indy Lights Race 1, as Colton Herta led from the pole, but Pato O’Ward was able to sneak by on the inside entering Turn 5.

O’Ward subsequently had to withstand a race-long challenge from Herta, who kept the gap at less than one second between the two Andretti Autosport affiliated drivers – Herta races under the Andretti Steinbrenner Racing banner – for most of the 30-lap race. But, O’Ward kept Herta at bay to take the win by one-and-a-half seconds at the checkered flag.

This is also O’Ward’s second win in three races in the 2018 season.

Belardi Auto Racing’s Santi Urrutia finished third, followed by Juncos Racing’s Victor Franzoni, and Ryan Norman finished fifth to put three Andretti Autosport affiliated drivers in the Top 5.

Meanwhile, Belardi’s Aaron Telitz endured a second consecutive race in which he failed to complete a lap, after he was collected in a Lap 1, Turn 2 spin with Dalton Kellett. Kellett, who spun on his own, was able to continue despite the contact, but Telitz suffered damage to the right-front suspension, forcing him to retire without completing a lap for the second race in a row.

Results are below. Race 2 rolls off at 1:00 p.m. ET.

 

Pro Mazda: Thompson Roles to Dominant Race 1 Victory

Exclusive Autosport’s Parker Thompson dominated Race 1, leading all 25 laps from the pole on his way to victory. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Race 1 for Pro Mazda was hardly ever in doubt. Polesitter Parker Thompson, who soared to pole with a track record in qualifying, led right from the drop of the green flag to lead all 25 laps on his way to winning Race 1.

Thompson had to withstand a brief challenge from RP Motorsport’s Harrison Scott on a Lap 4 restart – a caution was flown for debris on the front straightaway on Lap 2 – but Thompson immediately began gapping the field again, and the Exclusive Autosport driver won by over five seconds.

Scott came home in second, while BN Racing’s David Malukas, Team Pelfrey’s Andres Gutierrez, and Juncos Racing’s Rinus VeeKay battled for third, with Malukas holding off Gutierrez and VeeKay to take the final spot on the podium.

Results are below. Pro Mazda Race 2 rolls off at 10:50 a.m. ET on Sunday.

 

Check back later for driver quotes.

Follow@KyleMLavigne