NASCAR Truck Series

Raphael Lessard, Ben Rhodes lead Truck Bristol dirt practices

4 Mins read
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series hit the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt for the first time with a pair of practice sessions on Friday. Raphaël Lessard led the entirety of the first practice while Ben Rhodes did so later in the afternoon.

For Saturday’s four heat races to set the grid ahead of the evening’s Pinty’s Dirt Truck Race, Lessard will start third in Heat #3. Rhodes has more of an uphill battle in tenth in Heat #4.

First practice

Sheldon Creed, the reigning series champion and an off-road expert, was the first on track. Various drivers brought out cautions for spins starting with Brett Moffitt. Hailie Deegan—also a former off-road racer who has won on dirt in NASCAR’s regional series—and Jake Griffin also did so, with Griffin hitting the “dirtle”, a white rumble strip along the apron that discourages drivers from racing that low on the track (similar to turtles at the Daytona and Charlotte infield road course chicanes). Griffin, entering his first Truck race since 2019, would spin again.

With approximately eight minutes left, Andrew Gordon‘s left-rear tyre came off, resulting in him spinning and a red flag to come out. Gordon, one of two CMI Motorsports drivers, is hoping to make his NASCAR début.

By the end of the session, Lessard topped the charts with a fastest lap time of 19.384 seconds at 92.860 mph ahead of Carson Hocevar (19.396 seconds, 92.803). Cup Series rookie and former Eldora winner Chase Briscoe was the fastest non-Truck regular in fourth. Cody Erickson turned the most laps at fifty-eight and was thirty-fifth.

“This has been a weekend that I had big X’s through, and honestly, that’s as much fun as I’ve had in a race car in a long time,” Kevin Harvick told FS1 after recording fifty-one laps and setting the sixteenth-fastest time. “Just getting over my anxiety and being able to do something way outside my comfort zone was rewarding.”

Along with Stewart-Haas Racing team-mate Briscoe, Harvick is one of nine drivers running Saturday’s Truck race and Sunday’s Cup Series event. Kyle Larson (twelfth), Bubba Wallace (twenty-second), Martin Truex Jr. (twenty-ninth), Ryan Newman (thirty-eighth), and Daniel Suárez (forty-second) are all Cup full-timers entering the Truck race, while Stewart Friesen (fifth) and Mike Marlar (twenty-ninth) will run their maiden Cup races on Sunday. John Hunter Nemechek, who finished eleventh, is having Cup driver Christopher Bell on standby in the event that his wife goes into labour.

Jennifer Jo Cobb is the only driver to not record a practice lap.

PositionNumberDriverTeamManufacturerBest TimeBest Speed (mph)Laps
124Raphaël LessardGMS RacingChevrolet19.38492.86031
242Carson HocevarNiece MotorsportsChevrolet19.39692.80332
31Hailie DeeganDavid Gilliland RacingFord19.41892.69823
404Chase Briscoe*Roper RacingFord19.43292.63123
552Stewart FriesenHalmar Friesen RacingToyota19.46592.47433
615Tanner GrayDavid Gilliland RacingFord19.48392.38844
738Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord19.50292.29867
82Sheldon CreedGMS RacingChevrolet19.52592.19051
926Tyler AnkrumGMS RacingChevrolet19.57991.93537
1045Brett MoffittNiece MotorsportsChevrolet19.58891.89350
114John Hunter NemechekKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota19.59291.87438
1244Kyle Larson*Niece MotorsportsChevrolet19.60391.82331
1323Chase PurdyGMS RacingChevrolet19.62091.74374
1488Matt CraftonThorSport RacingToyota19.68891.42645
1521Zane SmithGMS RacingChevrolet19.69591.39449
1617Kevin Harvick*David Gilliland RacingFord19.70691.34351
1722Austin Wayne SelfAM RacingChevrolet19.72591.25540
1899Ben RhodesThorSport RacingToyota19.72991.23640
1962Jessica FriesenHalmar Friesen RacingToyota19.76091.09351
2033Myatt Snider*Reaume Brothers RacingChevrolet19.81190.85933
2198Grant EnfingerThorSport RacingToyota19.82190.81353
2211Bubba Wallace*Spencer Davis MotorsportsToyota19.84990.68548
2334Jake GriffinReaume Brothers RacingToyota19.87990.54831
2475Parker KligermanHenderson MotorsportsChevrolet19.88190.53944
2556Mike Marlar*Hill MotorsportsChevrolet19.88390.53035
2613Johnny SauterThorSport RacingToyota19.89990.45732
2718Chandler SmithKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota19.90190.44841
2849Andrew GordonCMI MotorsportsChevrolet19.93590.29426
2951Martin Truex Jr.*Kyle Busch MotorsportsToyota19.97090.13544
3030Danny BohnOn Point MotorsportsToyota19.99390.03240
319Codie RohrbaughCR7 MotorsportsChevrolet20.03689.83833
323J.R. HeffnerJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet20.06989.69145
3316Austin HillHattori Racing EnterprisesToyota20.06989.69132
3440Ryan TruexNiece MotorsportsChevrolet20.10489.53431
3541Cody EricksonCram Racing EnterprisesChevrolet20.11389.49458
3625Timothy PetersRackley WARChevrolet20.14589.3528
3719Derek KrausMcAnally-Hilgemann RacingToyota20.20589.08746
3839Ryan Newman*DCC RacingFord20.23388.96441
396Norm BenningNorm Benning RacingChevrolet20.63587.23013
4012Tate FoglemanYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet20.73486.81436
4183Trevor CollinsCMI MotorsportsChevrolet20.84186.36816
4202Daniel Suárez*Young’s MotorsportsChevrolet20.89486.14928
4320Spencer BoydYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet21.16985.03032
4410Jennifer Jo CobbJennifer Jo Cobb RacingChevroletNo TimeNo TimeN/A
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for Truck points
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Final practice

Six minutes into the session, J.R. Heffner, running his first Truck race in two years, lost his steering and hit the backstretch inside pit wall, forcing his truck to be towed away. Unlike the incident-plaged first practice, the final session featured just two cautions for Heffner and debris.

Rhodes dominated the second and final practice session from start to finish, ending it with a lap time of 20.703 seconds and speed of 86.943 mph. Newman, who was unable to set a strong time due to cautions, was the second fastest at 20.716 seconds and 86.889 mph.

Among the other eight Double Duty drivers, fellow Ford drivers Briscoe and Harvick finished with top-ten times in sixth and tenth, respectively. After not practicing earlier in the day, Cobb set a time in the practice, meaning all forty-four drivers were on track.

Zane Smith, the twenty-first-fastest driver, turned the most laps of the session with seventy-one.

PositionNumberDriverTeamManufacturerBest TimeBest Speed (mph)Laps
199Ben RhodesThorSport RacingToyota20.70386.94439
239Ryan Newman*DCC RacingFord20.71686.88911
315Tanner GrayDavid Gilliland RacingFord20.72186.86843
452Stewart FriesenHalmar Friesen RacingToyota20.78486.60556
588Matt CraftonThorSport RacingToyota20.79786.55157
604Chase Briscoe*Roper RacingFord20.79886.54740
775Parker KligermanHenderson MotorsportsChevrolet20.84086.37263
826Tyler AnkrumGMS RacingChevrolet20.90486.10846
913Johnny SauterThorSport RacingToyota20.90686.10045
1017Kevin Harvick*David Gilliland RacingFord20.91086.08326
112Sheldon CreedGMS RacingChevrolet20.91586.06371
1238Todd GillilandFront Row MotorsportsFord20.92986.00550
1342Carson HocevarNiece MotorsportsChevrolet20.93785.97248
1418Chandler SmithKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota20.94285.95252
1544Kyle Larson*Niece MotorsportsChevrolet20.94485.94443
1624Raphaël LessardGMS RacingChevrolet20.95785.89057
1702Daniel SuárezYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet20.96085.87853
1851Martin Truex Jr.Kyle Busch MotorsportsToyota20.96885.84531
1916Austin HillHattori Racing EnterprisesToyota20.98285.78841
203J.R. HeffnerJordan Anderson RacingChevrolet20.99385.7438
2121Zane SmithGMS RacingChevrolet21.01085.67471
224John Hunter NemechekKyle Busch MotorsportsToyota21.01185.66950
2323Chase PurdyGMS RacingChevrolet21.01285.66532
2498Grant EnfingerThorSport RacingToyota21.01385.66148
2545Brett MoffittNiece MotorsportsChevrolet21.05285.50346
2683Trevor CollinsCMI MotorsportsChevrolet21.05485.49424
2762Jessica FriesenHalmar Friesen RacingToyota21.05585.49056
2856Mike Marlar*Hill MotorsportsChevrolet21.07485.41344
2940Ryan TruexNiece MotorsportsChevrolet21.08085.38936
3033Myatt Snider*Reaume Brothers RacingChevrolet21.08785.36155
3111Bubba Wallace*Spencer Davis MotorsportsToyota21.09685.32446
3219Derek KrausMcAnally-Hilgemann RacingToyota21.10285.30033
331Hailie DeeganDavid Gilliland RacingFord21.14785.11952
3412Tate FoglemanYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet21.16085.06640
3534Jake GriffinReaume Brothers RacingToyota21.20984.87016
3622Austin Wayne SelfAM RacingChevrolet21.21684.84249
3741Cody EricksonCram Racing EnterprisesChevrolet21.28384.57537
386Norm BenningNorm Benning RacingChevrolet21.29484.53129
399Codie RohrbaughCR7 MotorsportsChevrolet21.32384.41632
4030Danny BohnOn Point MotorsportsToyota21.33284.38049
4120Spencer BoydYoung’s MotorsportsChevrolet21.42684.01047
4249Andrew GordonCMI MotorsportsChevrolet21.44583.93652
4325Timothy PetersRackley WARChevrolet21.63183.21410
4410Jennifer Jo CobbJennifer Jo Cobb RacingChevrolet22.70179.29211
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About author
Justin is neither a NASCAR nor off-road racer, but he has covered them for The Checkered Flag since 2018.
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