SPARTA, Ky. – Last season’s Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) pole award winner Austin Dillon and veteran Elliott Sadler led the opening 60-minute practice sessions for tomorrow’s “UNOH 225.”
Dillon made 21 practice laps in the second session and turned his fastest circuit at 172.057-mph (31.385 seconds). He climbed to second on the practice chart in the opening session by turning a 169.993 mph (31.772 seconds) lap.
He will make his third career Kentucky Speedway start tomorrow and second in the commonwealth in the NCWTS. The 21-year-old Richard Childress Racing wheelman placed ninth in last season’s 225-mile tilt in the Bluegrass State and took a 15th-place finish in his 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series track debut.
“I really enjoy running here. I’m a dirt racer so the bumps don’t really bother me. I’ve done well in both races I’ve run. I can’t wait for tomorrow, I think it will be a good race for us. There’s a lot of good guys out there with Johnny Sauter and Kyle Busch that will be tough to beat.
“The changes to the track I think have helped. There’s two grooves now for sure. I saw some people moving up as the day went on and the rubber got laid down on the track,” Dillon said.
Current NCWTS championship leader Johnny Sauter ran fourth in the first practice session with a 169.651 mph (31.830 seconds) lap and was second to Dillon in the closing session with a 171.592 mph (31.470 seconds) lap.
He started second and finished second to Todd Bodine in last season’s NCWTS race at the track and averaged a 27th-place finish in five NNS starts in Kentucky from 2002 to 2006.
The ThorSport Racing driver will start tomorrow night’s 150-lap battle with a 20-point championship lead over rookie Cole Whitt after tearing off a Martinsville Speedway victory and a total of three top-five and six top-10 finishes through nine events.
“I didn’t know that they had changed the track a little bit in Turn 1 and Turn 2 until my crew chief told me it would be in my best interest to walk out there and look at it. I was shocked. I mean it slows us down a little bit because of the track’s configuration. Does it change the racetrack at all really? No. Pit road and everything, it just looks so different, but it looks cool,” Sauter said.
Sadler needed only three trips around the 1.5-mile tri-oval to score the fastest lap of the opening session at 170.789 mph (31.618 seconds). He turned 27 laps in the second session and charted his fastest on Lap 19 at 170.417 mph (31.687 seconds). The circuit was good for sixth overall quickest in the session.
The 16-year NASCAR veteran will make his Kentucky Speedway debut tomorrow when he races in the series for the third time with this season with the Kevin Harvick, Inc., team that’s powered him to eight top-five and 12 top-10 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) finishes through 17 events this season.
NCWTS drivers open a huge day of action at Kentucky Speedway that will feature six hours of Sprint Cup Series testing, NASCAR Nationwide Series “Feed The Children 300” practice and “UNOH 225” qualifying. Partial gates open at 9:00 a.m., and full gates open at 2:00 p.m. The green flag waves for the 12th NCWTS race in track history and first on a Thursday night at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets remain and can be purchased at the Kentucky Speedway corporate office at 1 Speedway Drive, in Sparta, Ky., just off Interstate 71 Exit 57 and state Highway 35 north or by phone at 859-578-2300.