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COTA Truck practice report

Steve Letarte and Dan Beaver analyze the field for the first NASCAR Cup Series race on the Circuit of the Americas road course and reveal their favorite bets.

Zane Smith (2 minutes, 17.395 seconds) was fastest in Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Smith’s GMS Racing teammate and reigning series champion Sheldon Creed was second-fastest (2:17.735).

Grant Enfinger (2:18.472), Ben Rhodes (2:18.768) and Todd Gilliland (2:19.493) completed the top five speeds. Rhodes won the first Truck road course race of the season in February at Daytona International Speedway.

Truck Series at COTA practice speeds

Former Cup Series veteran Paul Menard was 15th-fastest (2:20.399) in the session. Menard, driving the No. 66 Toyota for ThorSport Racing, is making his return to NASCAR competition this weekend.

With only 50 minutes of practice originally scheduled before Saturday’s qualifying and race, Truck drivers were eager to get laps on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course.

But green-flag time was further reduced by four caution flags within the session’s first half-hour, which led to the session being extended.

Three cautions were for stalled trucks. One was for dropped fluid on track.

Next up for the Trucks is qualifying Saturday morning at 9:05 a.m. ET (FS2).

Forty-four entries were initially set to go for 36 spots in the field for Saturday afternoon’s race (1 p.m. ET, FS1). But Norm Benning’s No. 6 entry has since withdrawn. That means seven entries will not qualify.