A pair of young owner/drivers finished at the top of the speed charts Thursday afternoon. Part-time NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series owner/driver Clay Greenfield was fastest in the first practice session of the 2019 season. The 34-year-old Clarksville, Tennesee native hasn’t had the greatest Truck Series career, finishing only 22 of 42 races. He has finished in the Top-10 twice in his career, both at restrictor plate tracks.
Second fastest was Codie Rohrbaugh, who will be making his 3rd career Truck Series start Friday night. In last weekend’s ARCA race at Daytona, Rohrbaugh finished a career-best 7th place. Clearly, right off the bat, the young owner/driver is showing speed for his superspeedway Truck debut.
Former driver of the now-defunct Brad Keselowski Racing, Austin Theriault, is making his return to the Truck Series along with Ricky Benton Racing. The team and driver will be pairing up for 5 races this year. After running nearly half of the Truck Series schedule each year, in 2018 RBR decided to try the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series where they qualified for both the Daytona 500 and the spring Talladega race. In turn, they only ran one Truck race last year. Austin Theriault started out promisingly with BKR in 2015, running 9 races and scoring an average finish of 12.1. Left without a ride, he took part in the 2017 ARCA season and won 7 races and a championship. He spent 2018 running one Truck race and ending with an 8th place finish. Theriault now begins his 2019 3rd on the practice speed charts at a track he won at in ARCA and has led 40 laps in 2 Truck races, which amounts to 20% of those races.
2016 Truck Series Champion Johnny Sauter lost his GMS ride where he scored 13 wins in 3 seasons and returns to the team that he ran a majority of his Truck Series career with, ThorSport Racing. Sauter ran his first 7 full Truck seasons with ThorSport, winning 10 races and only going winless in one year. He rejoins longtime former teammate Matt Crafton, who never left ThorSport. The two series veterans rounded out the Top-5 in practice.
There were two red flags during practice. The first was for a debris which was later determined to be a side passenger window from the #4 of Todd Gilliland. The other stoppage was right before the end of practice when Bobby Gerhart stalled short of pit road and needed a push.
Full Practice Speeds:
(i) – ineligible for series points
|17||22||Austin Wayne Self||Chevy||48.333||186.208|
|34||10||Jennifer Jo Cobb||Chevy||50.468||178.331|
|35||45||Ross Chastain (i)||Chevy||50.593||177.890|
|36||42||Robby Lyons II||Chevy||50.788||177.207|