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

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”