NASCAR: Ryan Blaney tops lone Nationwide practice at Kansas

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A rainy morning at Kansas Speedway scratched what was to be the first of two scheduled NASCAR Nationwide Series practice sessions ahead of Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300.

Instead, the NNS contingent only had one, 80-minute session this afternoon on the 1.5-mile oval to prepare for their main event.

Ryan Blaney, who has done well this year in a limited Nationwide Series role for Team Penske while running full-time in the Camping World Truck Series, was fastest in the Penske No. 22 at 180.048 mph.

Blaney will make two more starts for Penske in the Nationwide Series this season at Charlotte and Texas in the No. 12 car.

But for this weekend, he’ll seek to help the No. 22 team retain its lead in the owner’s championship – currently at 32 points over Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 54 team with five races left in 2014.

“We just need to go out now and perform the rest of the year and be a part of another championship effort,” Blaney said of that effort earlier in the week.

“That’s important to [team owner] Roger [Penske], to the guys on the team, to [sponsors] Discount Tire and Hertz, and to the guys in the shop who build these cars. Over these next five races, that is the team’s focus.”

Behind him was Roush Fenway Racing’s Chris Buescher with the second-fastest lap at 179.880 mph. Richard Childress Racing rookie Ty Dillon was third-fastest (179.456), with last week’s NNS winner Kyle Busch (179.235) and Trevor Bayne (179.122) completing the Top 5 speeds.

The practice had one major incident involving Corey Lajoie, who got loose going through Turn 1 and 2 and slapped the wall in the No. 98 Biagi-DenBeste Racing Ford. The resulting right-side damage was enough to cause his team to call for a backup car.

Busch, Tanner Berryhill, and Dakoda Armstrong also spun, with said spins occurring both unassisted and in the Turn 2 vicinity (Armstrong lost control of his car on the apron). However, none of the three found the wall.

NNS qualifying will take place tomorrow at 12:15 p.m. ET, followed by the big show shortly after 3:30 p.m. ET.

NASCAR Nationwide Series at Kansas – Friday Practice Times