Brian Scott fastest in first Nationwide practice at Loudon

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Richard Childress Racing driver Brian Scott was the fastest in the first of two Nationwide Series practice sessions Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Scott recorded a fast lap of 130.042 mph.

Heading into Saturday’s Sta-Green 200 at NHMS, Scott is still looking for his first win of the season, but has recorded six finishes in the top-7 in last nine races.

Scott’s speed topped the charts, followed by six of the next seven spots being occupied by Sprint Cup regulars.

Second-fastest was Kyle Larson (129.243 mph), followed by Kyle Busch (129.029), Brad Keselowski (128.758) and Matt Kenseth (128.745).

Regan Smith was sixth-fastest at 128.273 mph, followed by Scott’s RCR teammate Paul Menard (128.229), Chris Buescher (128.027), Elliott Sadler (127.984) and Chase Elliott was 10th-fastest (127.684).

Landon Cassill was 11th fastest (127.342), followed by Dylan Kwasniewski (127.274), Ty Dillon (127.163), Ryan Reed (126.918), Trevor Bayne (126.749), Brendan Gaughan (126.450), Austin Theriault (126.090), Mike Bliss (126.069), James Buescher (125.977) and Ryan Preece (125.927).

A total of 38 drivers took the the track with Carlos Contreras being the slowest of the field at 120.121 mph.

The second NNS practice session of the day will begin at 3 pm ET and go until 4:25 pm ET.

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Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.