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Austin Dillon, Larson top opening sessions

July 23, 2013, Staff report,

Rookie driver looks right at home on dirt, distances self from field

Related: Full Eldora coverage | Eldora schedule | Photo gallery from Day 1 | Results

ROSSBURG, Ohio -- Austin Dillon and rookie Kyle Larson split leaderboard honors on the opening day of practice at Eldora Speedway as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made a historic return for the sanctioning body to dirt-track racing.

Larson, driving the No. 30 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet, turned a fast lap of 91.626 mph on the half-mile dirt track to lead the first two-hour session. Dillon, in the No. 39 RSS Racing Chevy, paced the two-hour nightcap with a best lap of 83.164 mph as a slicker track limited speeds.


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A total of 35 trucks made practice laps in preparation for Wednesday night’s inaugural Mudsummer Classic, which begins with qualifying races at 7 p.m. ET (SPEED). The main event is scheduled for a 9:35 p.m. ET start.

In the first session, Larson was a solid two-tenths of a second faster than second-fastest Dave Blaney, who clocked in at 90.653 mph. The dirt-track veteran’s son and teammate, Ryan Blaney, was third-best in another Brad Keselowski Racing entry. The family theme continued at the tail of the top five with brothers Austin and Ty Dillon fourth and fifth, respectively.

“In the beginning of the practice, there was still some moisture in the track so we were able to lay down a pretty quick lap,” said Larson, who won in his only Truck Series start this season, in April at Rockingham. “Seemed like each time we went out (afterward), we slowed down a lot.”

In the second session, Ty Dillon made it a 1-2 family leaderboard behind his brother as Larson took third on the speed charts. Veteran Ken Schrader posted an impressive fourth-fastest lap in a Chevrolet he owns, followed by dirt-track specialist Tracy Hines completing the top five.

A handful of spins and minor contact marked both practices, with many drivers flirting with or initiating slight contact with the outside wall as they found comfort with the outside groove. Running the high line, though, resulted in plenty of right-rear fender damage, most of it cosmetic.

John Wes Townley had the most trouble with at least six spins or incidents over the two practice sessions. Joey Coulter also smacked the outside wall on the exit of Turn 4, scraping the side of his Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.

Among other drivers involved in minor incidents Tuesday: Darrell Wallace Jr., Max Gresham, James Buescher, Jeff Babcock, Ryan Newman, Bryan Silas, Jeb Burton, Dave Blaney and Dakoda Armstrong.


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