Chris Buescher tops first Nationwide practice at Texas

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Roush Fenway Racing rookie Chris Buescher led this afternoon’s first practice at Texas Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, which returns to action this weekend after a two-week layoff.

Buescher logged nine laps in the session, but posted the fastest lap at 186.085 mph in the No. 60 Ford Fusion. He was followed by Sprint Cup regular Joey Logano, who was second-quickest (185.255) despite running just two laps in the entire session because of an issue under the hood of his No. 22 Team Penske Ford.

Buescher’s teammate, Trevor Bayne, completed a 1-2-3 sweep for the Blue Oval in the practice with his P3 lap of 184.811 mph in the No. 6 Fusion.

Cup rookie Austin Dillon, making his first NNS start of the season, was fourth (184.370) in the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, and RCR teammate Brian Scott completed the Top 5 (184.200).

Ryan Blaney, driving Penske’s No. 12 car this weekend, was sixth, followed by the fastest Toyota man, Elliott Sadler, in seventh. Kevin Harvick, Brendan Gaughan, and Ryan Reed rounded out the Top 10 fastest drivers.

As for championship leader Chase Elliott, he was a bit farther down the charts in 15th (182.248). Elliott, up by 42 points over JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith with three races to go, is returning to Texas after claiming his first NNS victory there this past spring. Smith was 17th-quickest in this opening session (181.739).

The NNS contingent will have an additional 90-minute practice session later today from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

NASCAR Nationwide Series at Texas – First Practice Times

Report: Spencer Pigot out at Ed Carpenter Racing

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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Spencer Pigot will not return to Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020, according to a story Thursday by RACER.com.

The 26-year-old Floridian, who won the 2015 Indy Lights championship, is expected to be replaced in the No. 21 Chevrolet by 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity ECR gave me,” Pigot told RACER.com. “I understand the reasons they had to go in a different direction, and wish them all the best.”

In 56 NTT IndyCar Series starts, Pigot has 15 top 10 finishes, with a best finish of second at Iowa in 2018. He finished 14th in the 2019 point standings.

VeeKay, who tested in an Indy car twice for ECR in 2019, has six wins in 18 Indy Lights starts, including a weekend sweep of the final two rounds of the season at Laguna Seca in September.

A representative from ECR told NBC Sports Thursday that the team currently could not comment on any driver rumors as the team currently does not have any drivers under contract for the 2020 season, although it is presumed that owner/driver Carpenter will return to the No. 20 entry for the oval rounds.

NBC Sports will provide updates on the story once more information becomes available.