Rookie Cole Custer shot to the top of the speed charts in the final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice Saturday morning at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Custer is just 16 years old and is a development driver for Haas Automation, a division of Stewart-Haas Racing.
Turning a best lap of 136.786 mph, Custer was the fastest of the 28 drivers that took to the Madison, Illinois track, which hosts the race later tonight starting at 8:30 pm ET.
Chase Pistone was second-fastest (136.562), followed by Darrell Wallace Jr. (136.542), Erik Jones (136.281), Gray Gaulding (136.046), Joey Coulter (135.874), Matt Crafton (135.820), Johnny Sauter (135.747), Ron Hornaday Jr. (135.277) and John Hunter Nemechek (135.204).
Struggling for speed were the two slowest drivers in practice, Jennifer Jo Cobb (124.464 mph) and NCWTS rookie Charles Lewandoski (123.254).
Follow me @JerryBonkowski
The invite has been received, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has another iRacing event on his schedule.
The NASCAR on NBC analyst tweeted Wednesday that he will make his debut in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge with Saturday’s race at Michigan Speedway. The race will be shown live on NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. ET Saturday.
The 2-mile oval was chosen by IndyCar drivers as the third track in the six-race series. Earnhardt heartily endorsed Michigan as a potential iRacing venue Monday along with Daytona and Talladega. Michigan nearly was selected by fans as the opener in the iRacing Challenge.
DRIVE LIKE ANDRETTI: Marco is in for Michigan
REVISED SCHEDULE: IndyCar makes 2020 adjustments
Earnhardt, a longtime avid iRacing fan, had been lobbying since last Thursday that he was interested in racing with IndyCar drivers.
He has driven in the first three races of the eNASCAR Pro Invitational, finishing second to Denny Hamlin in the opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Last year, he attended his first Indianapolis 500, working as an analyst as part of NBC Sports’ inaugural broadcast of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.
“I’d love to do it,” Earnhardt said Monday about joining the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “I think I’d love to get to know those guys.
“I had such a great time at the Indy 500 last year, and the reception that I received from other drivers there really meant a lot to me. So I know they’re all a lot of great dudes in that series that I already know that I’d love to get to know some of them even better.”
It already has been quite the week for Earnhardt, who was announced Monday as one of 15 nominees for the 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The field for Saturday’s race at Michigan should include another NASCAR driver in Jimmie Johnson. The seven-time Cup champion has driven the first two races of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge (and has plans to race IndyCar part time in the future).