Ryan Blaney isn’t giving up in Truck title bid, fastest in 2nd practice at Homestead

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Ryan Blaney isn’t giving up on still trying to steal away the Camping World Truck Series championship from Matt Crafton.

After being third-fastest in the first of two practice sessions on Thursday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Blaney shot to the top of the speed chart in the afternoon’s second session.

Blaney just barely missed 166 mph, clocking in with a field-best speed of 165.996 mph.

Crafton, meanwhile, after being fastest in the first session, was only 17th fastest in the second session (163.364 mph).

Just like the first practice session, Tyler Reddick was second-fastest again in the second session (165.817 mph), followed by Kyle Busch (165.771), Ross Chastain (165.675), Spencer Gallagher (165.451), Joe Nemechek (165.072), Jeb Burton (165.032), Darrell Wallace (164.986), Kyle Larson 164.961) and Daniel Hemric (164.916).

Timothy Peters was 11th fastest (164.765), followed by John Wes Townley (164.629), Bryan Silas (164.174), Ben Kennedy (164.074), Johnny Sauter (163.840), Joey Coulter (163.810), Matt Crafton (163.364), German Quiroga Jr. (163.206), Ty Dillon (162.680) and Tayler Malsam (162.597).

Thursday’s second practice was the final session for teams to work on their Trucks. Qualifying will take place at 2:45 pm ET on Friday, with the season-ending and championship-deciding later that evening at 8 pm ET.

The rest of the field’s times in Thursday’s final practice included:

Ray Black Jr. was 21st fastest (162.567), followed by Tyler Young (162.041), Matt Tifft (161.735), Mason Mitchell (161.536), Austin Hill (161.266), Mason Mingus (160.676), Kyle Martel (159.598), Justin Jennings (158.223), Jennifer Jo Cobb (154.577), Derek White (154.546), Wendell Chavous (154.515), Todd Peck (152.629), Jordan Anderson (150.485), Scott Stenzel (150.338) and Norm Benning (131.717).

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An IndyCar iRacing Challenge at Talladega? Drivers have discussed it

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If Dale Earnhardt Jr. is interested in an IndyCar iRacing event on an oval, he might like the latest idea being kicked around by NTT Series drivers.

“I personally would want to run at Talladega, but I don’t think that’s an option,” Arrow McLaren SP driver rookie Oliver Askew told NBCSports.com in a Friday interview about his simulation work for the second round of the IndyCar iRacing Challenge. “IndyCar drivers have a group chat with iRacing, and someone had the idea of running at Talladega, and I thought it was brilliant.”

It actually would be a throwback of sorts as a USAC-sanctioned race with Indy cars at Talladega nearly happened 40 years ago.

The IndyCar iRacing Challenge will be running its second consecutive road course Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park (2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN or streaming here).

Of the four remaining races in the six-race series, there’s a chance that three of them could be ovals: A Drivers’ Choice track April 11; a “Random Draw” April 18 and a non-IndyCar “Dream” track May 2 (the April 25 race will be at Circuit of the Americas).

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IndyCar drivers are voting on next week’s track, and the options include high-speed ovals such as Texas Motor Speedway and Michigan Speedway.

A multicar crash at Talladega last October. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Talladega apparently isn’t on the list for next week, but surely it could be considered for a future race if it meant having Earnhardt in the field. The 15-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver is a six-time winner at Talladega, and the NASCAR on NBC analyst’s family is synonymous with the 2.66-mile oval where his late seven-time champion father won a record 10 times.

“I hope he can make that happen,” Askew said of racing against Earnhardt. “I hope IndyCar can grant his wish on that.”

The addition of Earnhardt would fit well with an IndyCar iRacing Challenge that already features champions from NASCAR (Jimmie Johnson) and Supercars (Scott McLaughlin).

Will Power would like to see more of that.

“I think that would be great if we can get big-name drivers from other series,” Power said. “Getting a couple guys from Europe would be cool.”