Brian Scott fastest in first of two NNS practices Friday at Chicagoland

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JOLIET, ILLINOIS – Brian Scott paced the field in the first of two Nationwide Series practices Friday at Chicagoland Speedway.

Scott covered the 1.5-mile track 50 miles south of Chicago at a speed of 172.806 mph.

NNS rookie Chris Buescher was second-fastest at 172.623 mph, followed by Chase Elliott (172.568), Brendan Gaughan (172.342) and Kyle Larson (171.810)

Sam Hornish Jr. was sixth-fastest at 171.723 mph, followed by Kasey Kahne (171.396), Ryan Reed (171.238), Ty Dillon (171.189) and Trevor Bayne (171.086).

Larson and Kahne are the only two Sprint Cup regulars participating in Saturday’s Nationwide event, the EnjoyIllinois.com 300.

Cale Conley was 11th-fastest (170.946).

Camping World Truck Series rookie Erik Jones, making his Nationwide Series debut this weekend, was 12th-fastest (170.827 mph).

Ryan Blaney was 13th-fastest (170.767), followed by Elliot Sadler (170.557), Regan Smith (170.154), Ryan Sieg (170.036), James Buescher (169.827), Mike Bliss (169.699), Dylan Kwasniewski (169.263) and Dakoda Armstrong (168.587).

Kwasniewski parted ways with crew chief Pat Tryson earlier this week, with former Turner Scott Motorsports car chief Shannon Rursch being promoted to replace Tryson.

Although 40 cars are entered for Saturday’s race, only 33 took part in the first practice session of the day on Friday. The second practice session is due to go from 6:30 to 8 pm ET.

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F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.