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Four days after losing 40 percent of its race shop, ThorSport Racing topped the speed chart in opening practice at Iowa Speedway. Three of the four team trucks were among the top 10 during the first practice at a racetrack since the incident.
Looking for his first Camping World Truck Series victory, rookie Ben Rhodes paced the opening practice session at 135.542 mph, over a tenth of a second faster than his closest competitor.
Two-time winner William Byron, who is coming off a win last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, was second on the board. The 18-year-old laid down a lap of 134.863 mph, and was the second of seven Toyota trucks in the top 10.
John Hunter Nemechek, who is locked into the Chase with a win at Atlanta Motor Speedway, was third at 133.826 mph, with Spencer Gallagher fourth at 133.616 mph and Timothy Peters rounding out the top five at 133.035 mph.
Matt Crafton, who has two wins on the year, was mired down in 12th on the chart, a half-second behind his teammate Rhodes. In an interview with Fox Sports 1 during practice, he said the team will be testing new set-ups this weekend, given that it is a standalone race and the team is locked into the Chase.
Five teams completed a run of 10 or more laps. Byron led the way at an average speed of 130. 186 mph, over a mph faster than Brandon Brown.
Putting down an early speed of 135.292 mph, Bell paced the second practice session for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Hayley improved to second on the leaderboard in final practice at 135.037 mph, less than a half-tenth off of Bell’s time. He led the way for ThorSport Racing, who ranged from anywhere bewteen second to 23rd on speed.
Sitting just outside the Chase cutoff, Ben Kennedy led Chevrolet’s being third fastest at 134.927 mph. In the XFINITY Series practice prior to the final Truck Series practice, he put his Richard Childress Racing car atop the board in his debut.
Kaz Grala (134.679 mph) and Tyler Reddick (134.454 mph) rounded out the top five in final practice.
Of the top five-five speeds in the opening practice, Gallagher was the only driver to remain in the top 10 in second practice. Rhodes, who led the way in the first practice of the weekend, fell to 19th more than a half-second off the pace.
Competing in his third event for Rainer Racing with MDM, Brandon Jones ran 47 laps in the practice, most of all drivers. He was seventh on the board in terms of drivers running 10 consecutive laps. That chart was led by Nemecheck at 131.415 mph.
Qualifying is set to begin at 4:45 p.m. ET on Saturday with the race starting shortly after 8:30 p.m. ET.