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Ben Rhodes fastest qualifier at Eldora

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Ben Rhodes recorded the fastest time in qualification for the Eldora Dirt Derby with a lap of 86.801 mph, but he will have to wait until after his qualification race to know if he will lead the field to green. With his fastest lap, Rhodes will be credited with winning the pole.

Qualification sets the grid for five heat races with the fastest qualifier starting on the pole in race one. The second fastest qualifier will lead the field to green for the second heat race, and so on.

The top five in each qualification race will advance to the A Main with the winner of race one leading the field to green. The winner of the second heat will start alongside him on the front row.

Rhodes beat dirt midget racer Logan Seavey (86.747 mph) by .013 seconds. Seavey is making his Camping World Truck Series debut.

Tyler Dippel (86.368), Grant Enfinger (86.146) and Stewart Friesen (85.997) round out the top five.

Wendell Chavous (81.919) and Cody Coughlin (86.264) hit the wall during their qualification runs. Chavous qualified 33rd. Coughlin qualified 24th.

Points leader Johnny Sauter posted a time of 81.908 mph and was 34th among the 39 trucks that took time.

Second in points, Noah Gragson qualified 13th.

Click here for complete results.

Matt Crafton hopes dirt racers show Truck regulars respect at Eldora

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Who isn’t playing in the dirt tonight?

That’s almost an easier question to ask than who will be competing in the Camping World Truck Series’ sixth annual Eldora Dirt Derby.

There will be 39 drivers competing for spots in the 32-truck field, including Cup drivers Ryan Newman and Ty Dillon. Then those lucky drivers will set out to claim Eldora’s Golden Shovel.

Among the series regulars is Matt Crafton.

The two-time series champion is the only former Derby winner in the field. The ThorSport Racing driver claimed his only win of 2017 at Eldora, a reward for having set out to better himself at dirt racing the last few years.

Matt Crafton (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

“I feel it’s difficult,” Crafton said Monday in media teleconference. “But a lot of the dirt guys probably don’t think so. I came from an asphalt background, and I’ve raced some dirt in the last four or five years just because I knew we were going to Eldora, and last year I just went and bought my own dirt car, just bought my own modified and went and raced, oh, 12, 15 races last year and put a lot of focus on it just because I thought that was such a cool race to be able to win and get that golden shovel and that trophy and say we won on asphalt, we won on dirt, we’ve won some other places.  So that was a very sweet victory for sure.”

He’s winless this season, as he was entering this race in 2017, but Crafton doesn’t see “why we can’t” become the first repeat winner of NASCAR’s only national level race on dirt.

“We definitely should be able to if we put ourselves in the right position,” Crafton said. “There’s got to be a lot of the dirt ringers, if you want to call them that, and the guys that race dirt every week.”

Who are some of the dirt “ringers” who look to prevent Crafton’s repeat bit?

There’s Stewart Friesen, the dirt modified winner turned Truck regular who finished runner-up to Crafton last season.

Then there’s 63-year-old John Provenzano, a dirt specialist making his Truck debut.

Dirt modified drivers Kyle Strickler and RJ Otto will also make their series debuts with smaller teams.

“They’re going to be very tough, and hopefully they race with respect and don’t tear you up,” Crafton said. “That’s some of the things that I worry about. A lot of them are coming out here, and it’s going to be their one shot to drive a truck, and they don’t get to go race Martinsville or any other place, and they’re going to get to come to Eldora, and hopefully they respect us like we would respect them if we came into their series on one of their big shows.”

Logan Seavey stands by his truck during practice for the  Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Crafton may as well have been talking about Logan Seavey.

The 21-year-old native of Sutter, California, is a Toyota Racing Development driver set for his NASCAR debut tonight with Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Sutter is the 2017 POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series champion and currently leads the point standings while driving for Keith Kuntz Motorsports.

“I guess I was the next guy in line,” Seavey told NBC Sports. “I was sitting there talking with Jack (Irving)(Toyota Racing Development’s Director of Team & Support Services) one day and he just randomly said, ‘Hey, do you want to run Eldora?’ Of course the answer is ‘Yes.'”

Seavey has never competed in a race at Eldora and wasn’t expecting to until later this year.

“I think for all disciplines of dirt racing Eldora is the Mecca of racing,” Seavey said. “It’s definitely a huge one on the bucket list and like I said before, I never really expected my first time there to be in a Truck. I would have more thought a midget or a sprint car.”

Seavey, who is driving the No. 51 Toyota, once thought the idea of competing in NASCAR as a “pretty far fetched goal” until TRD came calling.

“That path became a lot more clear,” Seavey said. “It’s definitely a possibility now. It’s definitely one of my goals, try to make it racing in NASCAR.”

He barely had time in recent weeks to prepare for his first NASCAR race due to his busy midget schedule that included six races (and one win) in four states over 10 days. That resulted in roughly four hours spent at KBM in two separate visits.

But his resources in preparation included Christopher Bell, who earned his first Truck Series win in 2015 at Eldora while racing for KBM.

“He had lot of advice to give me this week,” Seavey said. The biggest piece of advice? “I think it’s just find your limit in practice. You don’t want to have to run real hard in the race and not know how the truck’s going to react. That’s something that happened to him last year. He ran hard in the middle of the race and spun out and wrecked his truck. I think you’re going to have to find your limits in practice … just get as comfortable as possible. That way you can limit your mistakes throughout the race and hopefully come out of there with a clean truck.”

In two practice sessions Tuesday night at Eldora, Seavey placed 14th in the first and sixth in the final session, where he also had the second-best 10-lap average behind Crafton.

Seavey said there is “definitely a fine line” when it comes to racing his own race and competing for the win against series regulars who are also gunning for points.

“At the end of the day if you want to make it in this sport, you gotta run up front and you gotta win races,” Seavey said. “I think that’s your No. 1 goal, to run up front and win. You obviously want to gain the respect of the other racers, especially if you’re hoping to compete in the series later. But at the same time, you might not get to that series if you don’t run hard and try to win. … But you obviously got to do it with respect and not make other people too mad and make yourself look bad.”

Wednesday schedule for Trucks at Eldora

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The Camping World Truck Series will get to play in the dirt tonight at Eldora Speedway for the sixth consecutive year.

Truck teams will qualify, which will determine their starting spots in qualifying heat races. The results of those races (and a last chance race) will set the field for tonight’s main event.

Here is the today’s track schedule:

(ALL TIMES EASTERN)

12:30 p.m. — Truck garage opens

4 p.m. — Driver/crew chief meeting

4:45 p.m. — Truck qualifying; single vehicle/two laps (Fox Sports 1)

7 p.m. — First qualifying race – 10 laps (FS1, Motor Racing Network)

7:09 p.m. — Second qualifying race – 10 laps (FS1, MRN)

7:18 p.m. — Third qualifying race – 10 laps (FS1, MRN)

7:27 p.m. — Fourth qualifying race – 10 laps (FS1, MRN)

7:36 p.m. — Fifth qualifying race – 10 laps (FS1, MRN)

8:15 p.m. — Last chance qualifying race – 15 laps (FS1, MRN)

8:40 p.m. — Driver introductions

9 p.m. — Eldora Dirt Derby; 150 laps/40-50-60 stages, 75 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Track schedule for Camping World Truck Series at Eldora

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The Camping World Truck Series is in the spotlight with a mid-week race on the dirt at Eldora Speedway. Trucks practice Tuesday and race Wednesday.

Here’s the track schedule:

(ALL TIMES EASTERN)

TUESDAY, July 17

5 – 11 p.m. — Truck garage open

7:05 – 7:55 p.m. — Truck practice (No TV)

9:05 – 9:55 p.m. — Final Truck practice (No TV)

WEDNESDAY, July 18

12:30 p.m. — Truck garage opens

4 p.m. — Driver/crew chief meeting

4:35 p.m. — Truck qualifying; single vehicle/two laps (Fox Sports 1)

7 p.m. — First qualifying race – 10 laps (FS1, Motor Racing Network)

7:09 p.m. — Second qualifying race – 10 laps (FS1, MRN)

7:18 p.m. — Third qualifying race – 10 laps (FS1, MRN)

7:27 p.m. — Fourth qualifying race – 10 laps (FS1, MRN)

7:36 p.m. — Fifth qualifying race – 10 laps (FS1, MRN)

8:15 p.m. — Last chance qualifying race – 15 laps (FS1, MRN)

8:40 p.m. — Driver introductions

9 p.m. — Eldora Dirt Derby; 150 laps/40-50-60 stages, 75 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

NASCAR’s Thursday schedule at Kentucky Speedway

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Today marks the start of NASCAR’s race weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

Both the Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series are in action, with the Trucks holding their 12th race of the season.

Here’s the full schedule for today with TV and radio info.

(All times are Eastern)

7 a.m. – Truck garage opens

9:05 – 9:55 a.m. – Truck practice (No TV)

11:05 – 11:55 a.m. – Final Truck practice (No TV)

1 – 9 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

4:05 – 4:50 p.m. – Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

5:10 p.m. – Truck qualifying; single truck/two rounds (Fox Sports 1)

6 p.m. – Truck driver-crew chief meeting

7 p.m. – Truck driver introductions

6:05 – 6:50 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)

7:30 p.m. – Truck Series Buckle Up in Your Truck 225; 150 laps/225 miles (Fox Sports 1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)