Bubba Wallace, Erik Jones top Thursday NASCAR Trucks practice

Leave a comment

Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates Darrell Wallace Jr. (pictured) and Erik Jones led the way in a pair of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice sessions today at Phoenix International Raceway.

“Bubba” topped the opening practice this afternoon with a lap of 131.569 mph in the No. 54 Toyota Tundra, while Jones – who announced today a full-time deal with KBM and part-time XFINITY Series deal with Joe Gibbs Racing for next season – led the faster second practice this evening with a lap of 134.509 mph in the No. 51 Toyota.

The two main championship contenders, points leader Matt Crafton and Ryan Blaney, were toward the top of the time sheets in the first practice with Blaney in second and Crafton in third.

They slipped back a little bit in the second practice but were still right next to each other: Crafton in seventh, Blaney in eighth. Crafton leads Blaney in the standings by 23 points with two races remaining in the season.

An incident in the second practice will force Red Horse Racing’s German Quiroga to go to a backup truck for Friday’s Truck Series activities at PIR, which include qualifying at 6:45 p.m. ET and the Lucas Oil 150 race at 8:30 p.m. ET.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Phoenix – First Practice Times

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Phoenix – Second Practice Times

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.