NASCAR: Quiroga, Ranger fastest in Truck Series practices at CTMP

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The highly-anticipated NASCAR Camping World Truck Series weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park has begun with a pair of practice sessions on the 10-turn road course outside Toronto.

Seemingly going along with the international flavor of this particular event, a Mexican, an American, and a Canadian took the Top 3 spots in the first practice session.

Mexico’s German Quiroga used a late run to post the fastest lap of the session at 81.239 seconds. Following him was the USA’s Brennan Newberry in P2 (81.595 seconds) and Canada’s Alex Tagliani in third (81.660 seconds).

Rounding out the Top 5 were Gray Gaulding (fourth, 81.852 seconds) and Jeb Burton (fifth, 81.852 seconds).

Speeds went up in the second practice, which was led by another Canadian driver. Quebec native Andrew Ranger went to the top with his lap of 80.760 seconds, pushing Quiroga’s 80.772-second lap to P2.

Cole Custer posted the third-fastest time (80.825 seconds). Then came Ryan Blaney in fourth (80.832 seconds) and Gaulding again cracking the Top 5 speeds, this time in fifth (80.886 seconds).

Points leader Johnny Sauter was 13th in the first practice, but improved to 10th in the second practice. Sauter leads the Truck Series standings by eight points over ThorSport Racing teammate and defending series champion Matt Crafton (11th in first practice, seventh in second practice).

As for the beleaguered Turner Scott Motorsports, Ben Kennedy (ninth in first practice, 14th in second practice) and Cameron Hayley (14th in first practice, 11th in second practice) posted times good enough for mid-pack.

Qualifying will take place later today at 5:40 p.m. ET ahead of Sunday’s main event, the Chevrolet Silverado 250 (1:30 p.m. ET, check local listings).

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at CTMP – First Practice Times

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at CTMP – Second (Final) Practice Times

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.