Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney fastest in Eldora Truck practices

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Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney recorded the top speeds in the two practice sessions for Wednesday night’s second annual MudSummer Classic NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Eldora Speedway.

Pole qualifying begins at 5:10 pm ET and will be televised on Fox Sports 1. All drivers will take two laps, with the best lap counted towards the qualifying result.

The main event race at the western Ohio half-mile dirt track begins at 9 pm ET (televised on Fox Sports 1). It will be preceded by five 10-lap heat races that begin at 7 pm ET, followed by a “last-chance” qualifying race at 8:10 pm ET.

Last year’s MudSummer Classic was the first NASCAR race run on dirt since 1970, and the first-ever for the Camping World Truck Series.

In Wednesday’s first practice session, Jones – who won his first NCWTS race at Iowa on July 12 – took to dirt like a duck to water (this is his first race on dirt of his career).

The 18-year-old rookie from Michigan topped the field with a speed of 90.749 mph at a time of 19.835 seconds.

Mason Mingus was second-fastest (90.653 mph), while NCWTS points standings leader Matt Crafton was third (90.221), Tyler Reddick was fourth (90.149) and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five (90.009).

Sixth through 10th in the first practice session were German Quiroga Jr. (89.632), Darrell Wallace Jr. (89.592), Timothy Peters (89.486), Chase Pistone (89.321) and Johnny Sauter (89.303).

Last year’s winner, Austin Dillon, was 25th-fastest (87.796 mph) out of only 32 trucks that took to the track in the opening session.

As for the second session, what a turnaround it was for Blaney, who is currently second in the NCWTS points standings.

After managing to be no faster than 28th (87.256 mph) in the opening session, Blaney was at the front of the pack in the second practice session with a speed of 87.869 mph.

All speeds in the second session were considerably lower than the opening practice, which saw five drivers exceed 90 mph.

And just like he was in the opening practice, Mingus once again was second-fastest in the second session at 87.771 mph.

Dillon, the 2011 NCWTS and 2013 Nationwide Series champion, also made a huge climb up from the opening session, with the third-fastest effort in the second practice at 87.596 mph.

Fourth fastest in the second practice was Ron Hornaday Jr. (87.125 mph), followed by Austin Dillon’s younger brother Ty, who was fifth-fastest at 87.007 mph).

Sixth- through 10th-fastest were Jody Knowles (86.931), JR Heffner (86.747), Chase Pistone (86.714), Larson (86.647) and Ken Schrader (36.626).

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NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.