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Dillon sweeps pair of practices at Iowa

August 02, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Dillon sweeps pair of practices at Iowa
Points leader sets the pace early; Larson, Bowman also shine

Related: Full practice results

NEWTON, Iowa -- Looking for his first win of 2013, Austin Dillon kicked off his weekend on a high note, topping the speed charts in both NASCAR Nationwide Series practices Friday at Iowa Speedway.

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Dillon, who owns the series points lead, opened the day on top, turning his 16th lap around the 0.875-mile track in 23.374 seconds for a best speed of 134.765 mph in advance of Saturday’s U.S. Cellular 250 presented by Enlist Weed Control System (8 p.m., ESPN2). Late in the second session, he took over Kyle Larson’s lead at the top to finish his 42nd lap in 23.289 seconds for a best speed of 135.257 mph, the fastest of the day.

Things definitely look like they’re trending in Dillon’s direction at one of his best tracks. Dillon won the Coors Light Pole at Iowa in the June race here and led 207 laps before giving way to Trevor Bayne late in the race and finishing second. Qualifying for this race is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. ET Saturday.

Dillon, Larson, and Alex Bowman all finished in the top five in both practice sessions.

In the first practice, Dillon was followed by Kenny Wallace, Larson, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Bowman to round out the top five. Wallace, who Wednesday spent time with fans at a mall in Des Moines racing toy cars on a simulated track, was just off Dillon’s pace at 23.539 seconds. Spots six through 10 went to Travis Pastrana, Drew Herring, Brian Vickers, Johanna Long and Elliott Sadler.

In the second practice session, Dillon was followed by Larson, Parker Kligerman, Bowman and Sadler. Herring again placed in the top 10 at eighth, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise given that he’s running in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota that Kyle Busch has won eight races in this season.

Brad Keselowski, who just hours prior qualified 11th for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway, placed 21st in the second practice with a best speed of 132.114 mph.

Bayne, the winner of the first Nationwide race at Iowa this year, finished 17th and 10th in the first and second sessions, respectively, while NASCAR Drive for Diversity participant Ryan Gifford, making his Nationwide debut, improved upon his initial practice placing of 22nd to 14th in the later run.

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