Richard Childress Racing driver Brian Scott was the fastest in the first of two Nationwide Series practice sessions Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Scott recorded a fast lap of 130.042 mph.
Heading into Saturday’s Sta-Green 200 at NHMS, Scott is still looking for his first win of the season, but has recorded six finishes in the top-7 in last nine races.
Scott’s speed topped the charts, followed by six of the next seven spots being occupied by Sprint Cup regulars.
Second-fastest was Kyle Larson (129.243 mph), followed by Kyle Busch (129.029), Brad Keselowski (128.758) and Matt Kenseth (128.745).
Regan Smith was sixth-fastest at 128.273 mph, followed by Scott’s RCR teammate Paul Menard (128.229), Chris Buescher (128.027), Elliott Sadler (127.984) and Chase Elliott was 10th-fastest (127.684).
Landon Cassill was 11th fastest (127.342), followed by Dylan Kwasniewski (127.274), Ty Dillon (127.163), Ryan Reed (126.918), Trevor Bayne (126.749), Brendan Gaughan (126.450), Austin Theriault (126.090), Mike Bliss (126.069), James Buescher (125.977) and Ryan Preece (125.927).
A total of 38 drivers took the the track with Carlos Contreras being the slowest of the field at 120.121 mph.
The second NNS practice session of the day will begin at 3 pm ET and go until 4:25 pm ET.
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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.