Tyler Reddick roars to new track record and Trucks pole at Talladega

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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie Tyler Reddick on Friday afternoon roared to the pole for Saturday’s Fred’s 250 as the Talladega Superspeedway track record for Trucks wasn’t just broken, it was obliterated.

The old mark was 182.320 mph by a surprising name: now-retired Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver Mark Martin (Oct. 7, 2006).

Reddick bettered that mark by nearly 4 1/2 mph, clocking in at 186.827 mph, barely holding on to take the pole from Tayler Malsam (186.714 mph).

“I probably had the fastest truck of our group,” Reddick told Fox Sports 1. “I had no idea it was going to be a first-place qualifying position. I thought it was going to be more like sixth or seventh.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty with this qualifying program. The old style, you knew you had two laps to go out and you were done.

“But I’m glad we had the change. It got us a pole.”

Points leader Matt Crafton was third-fastest (186.427) and predicted a wild race on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s going to be chaos the whole race,” Crafton said. “We’ve got a good starting spot. All in all, it’s a good starting position.”

Johnny Sauter qualified fourth (186.278), followed by Ryan Blaney (185.517) and Erik Jones (185.301).

The rest of the top 12 qualifiers were Jeb Burton (185.273), Joe Nemechek (185.154), John Wes Townley (182.685), Mason Mingus (182.671), Chris Fontaine (182.598) and German Quiroga (175.810).

One of the biggest surprises was the qualifying effort of Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., who will start 27th, his worst-ever start in the Truck series.

All 36 drivers that qualified made the show.

The rest of the field is:

13 Ben Kennedy 185.718

14 Ron Hornaday Jr. 185.679

15 Brennan Newberry 185.581

16 Joey Coulter 185.380

17 Daniel Suarez 185.308

18 Jimmy Weller 185.147

19 Bryan Silas 184.965

20 Clay Greenfield 184.947

21 Spencer Gallagher 184.708

22 Ryan Sieg 184.509

23 Norm Benning 183.973

24 Jennifer Jo Cobb 183.600

25 Tyler Young 181.870

26 Timothy Peters 181.697

27 Darrell Wallace Jr. 181.374

28 Ryan Ellis 179.726

29 Korbin Forrister 179.561

30 Scott Stenzel 177.806

31 Cody Ware 176.663

32 Derek White 175.590

33 Michael Affarano 175.581

34 Justin Jennings 165.999

35 Mike Harmon No Speed

36 Milka Duno No Speed

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Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).