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Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones top Eldora practices

July 23, 2014, Staff report,

Jones leads first session; Blaney rebounds in second practice


After a sluggish run in the opening practice session, Ryan Blaney bounced back with the top time in the second session in preparation for the 1-800-CarCrash Mudsummer Classic, being run tonight (9 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1) on the half-mile dirt track at Eldora Speedway.

Blaney, driving for Brad Keselowski Racing, turned in a time of 87.869 mph on the seventh of his 70 laps. He edged out Mason Mingus (87.771) by .023 of a second.


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Mingus, a 19-year-old in his first full season as a Trucks driver, had a solid morning; he also placed second in the first practice of the day.

Austin Dillon had the third-fastest lap of the second practice with a time of 87.596. Now a full-time driver on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Dillon won last year's Mudsummer Classic, which marked the first NASCAR race on dirt since 1970 and the first ever in the Trucks Series.

Regarded as a dirt-track ace -- he does it in his spare time -- Dillon will be among the favorites to win tonight's race. He has five Truck Series wins in 58 starts, and won the Series title in 2011.

Ron Hornaday Jr. (87.125 mph) was fourth in the session, and Ty Dillon, Austin's younger brother, placed fifth (87.007).

Also among the top 10 were: Jody Knowles (86.931), JR Heffner (86.747), Chase Pistone (86.714), Kyle Larson (86.647) and Ken Schrader (36.626).

Camping World Truck Series points leader Matt Crafton was 16th on the speed chart in the second session (86.261).

The times in the second session were slower. Five drivers in the opening practice had a lap of 90-plus miles per hour.


Erik Jones will race on dirt for the first time in his career tonight, but it didn’t look like it in his first practice session.

Jones, an 18-year-old rookie coming off his first career Trucks win at Iowa on July 12, had the fastest lap of the opening practice session at 90.749 miles per hour Wednesday morning. He covered his eighth lap (out of 11) on the half-mile dirt track in 19.835 seconds to finish just ahead of Mingus (19.856), who had a best lap of 90.653 mph.

Kyle Busch Motorsports has won seven of the nine Trucks races this season, and Jones will try to keep that trend going at Eldora.

Crafton had the third-fastest lap in the first practice at 90.221 mph, followed by Tyler Reddick (90.149) and Larson (90.009).

Rounding out the top 10 were German Quiroga Jr. (89.632), Darrell Wallace Jr. (89.592), Timothy Peters (89.486), Chase Pistone (89.321) and Johnny Sauter (89.303).

Austin Dillon placed 25th (out of 32) on the speed chart at 87.796 mph. Crowd favorite Norm Benning, a 62-year-old who was a last-chance qualifier at Eldora last season, was 26th (87.383).

Blaney, ranked second in the Truck Series standings, placed 28th (87.256).

The start of the opening practice was delayed slightly due to a muddy track, and the session was extended 10 minutes.

Keystone Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1). The best of two laps will determine the order. The first of five qualifying races starts at 7 p.m. ET, and a last-chance qualifying race begins at 8:10 p.m. ET.


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