Larson, Elliott pace NCWTS practices; Kostecki, Barnes take Fast Track 175 wins

NASCAR Camping World Trucks qualify at 11:05 a.m., green flag at 2 p.m.

Rockingham, N.C. (April 13, 2013) –  Rockingham Speedway may be nearly 50 years old, but it sported a youthful appearance Saturday as 20-year-old Kyle Larson and 17-year-old Chase Elliott led practice for Sunday’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine.Larson, driving a Chevrolet, paced the first practice session at the 1-mile track with a 144.341-mph, 24.941-second, lap, but had to settle for ninth quickest in final practice at 140.773 mph, 25.573 seconds. Elliott, also in a Chevrolet, rebounded from a 13th-quickest first session — 140.362 mph, 25.648 seconds — to lead final practice — 142.812 mph, 25.208 seconds.

“I thought it was decent,” Elliott said about his practice speeds. “I think we have some work to do tonight. I think we got some good notes from today. Hopefully, we can make our best guess at it and be good tomorrow.”

Elliott, who has won two Late Model races at “The Rock”, hoped his previous experience at the facility, where his dad made his NASCAR Cup debut in 1976, would help him more in Sunday’s race than it did in practice.


American Muscle

“This race track is such a sensitive place when you get to racing and you get into a race pace and you really get into a rhythm here,” said Elliott, who had the second best 10 consecutive lap average in final practice with 136.564 mph. “I hope the races I’ve run here in the past will help us and we can be there when it counts tomorrow.”

Larson, who finished 32nd in Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas, said it was a long trip to North Carolina following the event “but it was totally worth it.”

“We were able to run good lap times on the long run even when our tires were worn, so I think we’ll have a good shot,” said Larson, who had the third best 10 consecutive lap average in final practice with 136.393 mph.

Ryan Blaney, driving a Ford, produced the best 10 consecutive lap average in final practice with 136.959 mph.

In two races Saturday at “The Rock”, Australian Brodie Kostecki won the 75-lap UARA Late Model race, while Chuck Barnes dominated the Frank Kimmel Street Stock event to claim his fourth victory at the track. Barnes is now tied with Clay Rogers for the most Rockingham victories since the track reopened in 2008.

Kostecki said his team had tested a great deal and the victory showed the strength of the family-owned organization.

“I’ve really learned through the past seasons to just really conserve your equipment,” said Kostecki, who’s in his rookie season driving a car that weighs more than 2,000 pounds. “I started off the race just kind of riding around at my own pace, just conserving my equipment, saving the engine making sure nothing bad would go our way. As soon as I got my tires, I knew that I could pull the field.”

Kostecki said the team hopes to run five to six races this year in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East.

Barnes said he “loved” Rockingham and wished the series could race more at the track.

“(We) had a pretty good battle going for a little while,” Barnes said. “I guess they [Ronnie Newsome and Willie Reynes] got tied up in a little accident down there. It would have been a good race at the end.”

Tickets and suite packages for Sunday’s North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at The Rock presented by Cheerwine are now available the speedway box office. Remaining seats begin at $25.


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