Blaney’s lap of 168.240 mph in the No. 12 Team Penske Ford allowed him to go P1 over Ty Dillon (168.072), Kyle Busch (167.105), Elliott Sadler (166.883), and Kyle Larson (166.847).
Now, Blaney will shift his attention to winning tonight’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finale from the front row and possibly upsetting Matt Crafton for the series championship as well.
Brian Scott was sixth, followed by Matt Kenseth in seventh and John Wes Townley in eighth. Brad Keselowski was ninth (166.512) in the Penske No. 22 that could win the Nationwide owner’s title in tomorrow’s Ford Ecoboost 300. Newly crowned driver’s champ Chase Elliott was 14th-quickest (165.970).
In regards to 10-consecutive-lap averages, Sadler had the fastest with a speed of 164.912 mph over Laps 43-52 in the 64 laps he turned in the session.
Qualifying will take place tomorrow afternoon at 1:15 p.m. ET, with the race to follow at 4:30 p.m. ET.
As the event elevates its stature, the course gets tougher. The jumps get higher and the competition stouter. This year’s course took inspiration from a skatepark, honoring other adrenaline-laced pastimes and competitions.
“There’s a ton of inspiration from other action sports,” Bereman told Red Bull writer Eric Shirk as he geared up for the event.
Bereman was the leading force in the creation of this event and the winner of its inaugural running. In 2022, Bereman had to settle for second with Axell Hodges claiming victory on the largest freeride course created uniquely for the Red Bull Imagination.
Unlike other courses, Bereman gave designer Jason Baker the liberty to create obstacles and jumps as he went. And this was one of the components that helped the course imitate art.
Baker’s background in track design comes from Supercross. In that sport, he had to follow strict guidelines and build the course to a specific length and distance. From the building of the course through the final event, Bereman’s philosophy was to give every person involved, from creators to riders, fans and beyond, the chance to express themselves.
He wanted the sport to bridge the valley between racing and art.
Hodges scored a 98 on the course and edged Bereman by two points. Both riders used the vast variety of jumps to spend a maximum amount of time airborne. Hodges’s first run included nearly every available obstacle including a 180-foot jump before backflipping over the main road.
The riders were able to secure high point totals on their first runs. Then, the wind picked up ahead of Round 2. Christian Dresser and Guillem Navas were able to improve their scores on the second run by creating new lines on the course and displaying tricks that did not need the amount of hangtime as earlier runs. They were the only riders to improve from run one to run two.
With first and second secured with their early runs, Hodge and Bereman teamed up to use their time jointly to race parallel lines and create tandem hits. The two competitors met at the center of the course atop the Fasthouse feature and revved their engines in an embrace.
Julien Vanstippen rounded out the podium with a final score of 92; his run included a landing of a 130-foot super flip.