RCR stays on top in Nationwide happy hour, Paul Menard only driver over 130 mph

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While first practice session leader Brian Scott fell backward in the second session, Richard Childress Racing teammate Paul Menard led the way at New Hampshire Motor Speedway to take over the top spot on the happy hour practice speed chart.

Menard recorded the fastest speed at 130.595 mph.

Kyle Busch was second-fastest (129.851 mph), followed by Brad Keselowski (129.476), Kyle Larson (129.173) and Trevor Bayne (129.121).

Sixth through 10th were Dylan Kwasniewski (129.103), Ryan Preece (129.064), Chris Buescher (128.981), Ty Dillon (128.885) and Brendan Gaughan (128.832).

Austin Theriault was 11th fastest (128.750), followed by Ryan Sieg (128.737), Matt Kenseth (128.528), James Buescher (128.299), Elliott Sadler (128.130), Chase Elliott (128.014), Regan Smith (127.954), Brian Scott (127.773), Ryan Reed (127.206) and Brennan Newberry (127.176).

Landon Cassill was 21st fastest (126.766), followed by Dakoda Armstrong (126.681), Jeffrey Earnhardt (125.819), Tanner Berryhill (125.774), JJ Yeley (125.612), Mike Bliss (125.608), Matt Frahm (125.525), Jeremy Clements (125.355), Eric McClure (125.108) and Josh Wise (124.801).

Rounding out the rest of the 41-car field were Derek White in 31st (124.707), Harrison Rhodes (124.345) Matt DiBenedetto (124.255), Blake Koch (123.859), Jake Crum (123.707), Derrike Cope (123.506), Joey Gase (123.502), Carlos Contreras (123.346), Kevin Lepage (122.710), Ryan Ellis (122.659) and Josh Reaume (121.847).

Qualifying for the Sta-Green 200 takes place at 10:10 am ET on Saturday morning, with the race itself set to take the green flag at 3:30 pm ET.

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Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.