Martinsville sends Trucks spinning in practices
October 25, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain topped the charts in Friday morning practice sessions for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway.
Chastain, driving a partial schedule for Brad Keselowski Racing this season, led the opening session at 95.603 mph in the No. 19 Ford, shortly after the track opened with temperatures in the upper 30s. Speeds picked up in the second session as teams employed qualifying setups, and Hamlin -- driving the No. 51 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports -- grabbed the top spot at 98.736 mph in preparation for Saturday's Kroger 200 (1:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1).
Hamlin, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular making his first Truck Series start of the season, was just 15th-fastest in the first 70-minute session before ruling the 80-minute final practice. Hamlin, a four-time Sprint Cup winner at Martinsville, has won the fall truck race here the last two seasons, both times in KBM trucks.
Rookie Darrell Wallace Jr., Hamlin's teammate for the weekend, was second-fastest in final practice at 96.627 mph in the No. 54 Toyota. Chastain remained consistent, clocking the third-fastest speed (95.903 mph) in final practice. Daniel Hemric, scheduled to make his first career truck start, was fourth-best in the No. 6 Sharp-Gallaher Racing Chevrolet, with rookie Jeb Burton, the pole winner here in the spring, completing the top five.
Joey Coulter, another full-time KBM driver, and four-time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. filled out the top three in the early session. They were followed by ThorSport Racing Toyota teammates Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton, fourth and fifth respectively.
Series leader Crafton, who carries a 57-point lead over Ty Dillon into the weekend, was 10th-best in final practice in the No. 88 Tundra. Dillon, in the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, was seventh-best in the early practice and 18th on the board in final practice.
Defending series champion James Buescher, 58 points behind Crafton in third place, was 21st early and 17th late.
Sauter, winner of the Truck Series' most recent Martinsville race in April, backed up his fourth-place showing the early practice with a sixth-fastest effort in final practice. Crafton scored his third victory of the season last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
John Hunter Nemechek, the 16-year-old son of NASCAR veteran Joe Nemechek, was 23rd late and 32nd early in preparation for his potential Truck Series debut. He is one of 13 drivers required to qualify on time; 38 drivers will be vying for the 36 spots in the field in pole qualifying, scheduled to go green at 5 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 2).
The two practice sessions were slowed by a handful of caution periods for spins and debris. Dakoda Armstrong took the hardest hit, backing his No. 60 Chevrolet into the Turn 2 wall and forcing his TurnOne Racing team to unload its backup truck. Armstrong was evaluated and released from the infield care center. The clean-up extended the early session -- originally scheduled for an hour -- by 10 minutes.
Brennan Newberry and Jennifer Jo Cobb also looped their trucks over the course of the two practice sessions.