Friesen, Holman pace Eldora Dirt Derby practices, Briscoe crashes

Russell LaBounty/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

ROSSBURG, Ohio — Caleb Holman and Stewart Friesen combined to pace the two lone practice sessions for Wednesday’s Eldora Dirt Derby.

Practice 2

Caleb Holman led the way in a final practice session that proved expensive for a few teams on the tour.

Holmans’ 19.990-second circuit of the half-mile dirt oval was good enough to top the charts over runner-up Christopher Bell’s 20.177-second lap.

Ty Dillon (20.187), Matt Crafton (20.202) and John Hunter Nemechek (20.218) rounded out the top five, with Johnny Sauter, Ben Rhodes, Christopher Bell, Kaz Grala and Bobby Pierce completing the top 10.

The session saw just 11 spins, a five-spin improvement over the opening practice two hours earlier. However, what the second session lacked in quantity of crashes it made up for in expensive quality.

Briscoe saw heavy damage to his No. 29 Ford when he jumped the cushion and climbed the Eldora Speedway wall, damaging the track’s fence and forcing a red flag for repairs. Briscoe will go to a backup truck for Wednesday’s race.

“I just tried to slide a guy, went in too hard I think and just hit the cushion,” Briscoe told Kickin’ the Tires. 

A spin from Johnny Sauter moments later saw additional damage, as dirt newcomer Harrison Burton slammed into his stopped No. 21 Chevrolet, causing minor damage for Sauter and extensive damage for Burton.

“I guess someone, I don’t know who, spun out in front of me and the (No.) 21 (Sauter),” Burton said. “He was in the middle, and (Sauter) locked the brakes up or something and spun out. He backed up into the fence, and I committed to trying to miss him up high. I didn’t really have anywhere to go.

“I hit him a ton. I didn’t think I could hit that hard here, since you’re not going that fast. I just hate it for my guys, because I couldn’t really do much to miss it. You feel guilty about it, but you’ve got to try to move on and learn from it as best as you can.”

Despite tremendous rear-end damage, Burton’s Kyle Busch Motorsports team refused to commit to a backup truck after the session ended, choosing instead to attempt to fix the battered machine.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series field will return Wednesday for qualifying at 5 p.m. ET, followed by qualifying races at 7:30 p.m. Coverage for the Eldora Dirt Derby will begin at 9:30 p.m. on FOX Business Network.

Results, via NASCAR

Practice 1

Shortly before hopping in a big block modified to win a heat race, dirt track ace Stewart Friesen led the way in opening NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice at Eldora Speedway.

Friesen’s 19.457-second lap proved the fastest in the first of two Tuesday practices for the Eldora Dirt Derby. The Canadian, 33, was one of just two drivers to test Goodyear’s new tire compound for NASCAR’s yearly trip to Eldora back in May.

The other driver to participate in the test – 2015 winner Christopher Bell – came home in third with a time of 19.657 seconds. Ty Dillon (19.657) split the two drivers in second, with Ben Rhodes (19.771) and Rico Abreu (19.874) rounding out the top five.

Johnny Sauter, Chase Briscoe, Matt Crafton, Noah Gragson and Caleb Holman completed the top 10.

While lasting only 55 minutes, the Truck Series field’s first look at the half-mile dirt track was filled with stoppages as drivers struggled to navigate Turns 3 and 4. The session was slowed 15 times for spins, including one instance of two drivers spinning at the same time. Gragson and Sheldon Creed looped around three times each. Briscoe and Harrison Burton spun twice, and solo spins came from Friesen, Dillon, Max Johnston, John Hunter Nemechek, Cody Coughlin and John Hunter Nemechek.

Most continued on without damage. The little damage that was found was cosmetic – save for Coughlin’s No. 13 Toyota, which required repairs from him ThorSport Racing crew.

The Truck Series field will return for another 55-minute practice session at 9 p.m. ET.

Results, via NASCAR

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