Ben Rhodes, Johnny Sauter top Texas practice sessions

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - JUNE 06: Johnny Sauter, driver of the #13 Tenda Heal Ford, practices for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 06, 2019 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Ben Rhodes led Thursday’s opening Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice in preparation for Friday night’s 400 at Texas Motor Speedway (9 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) with a speed of 180.681 mph around the 1.5-mile Fort Worth high banks – just besting five-time Texas winner Johnny Sauter.

Sauter answered by pacing the second practice (184.168 mph) over his ThorSport Racing teammate and championship leader Grant Enfinger then leading the final practice Thursday evening over Matt Crafton and Austin Hill.

Another championship contender Stewart Friesen – currently ranked second in the points standings – suffered a setback midway through the second session, crashing in his No. 52 Chevy truck after posting the ninth-best speed of the session. Friesen’s team confirmed he’ll have to go to a back-up Chevrolet for Friday’s race.

Qualifying for the race will be 5:35 p.m. ET on Friday. And this Texas race features the return of 2000 series champion Greg Biffle, who is driving the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 Toyota Tundra. Biffle was 11th in opening practice,  12th in the second and 16th in the final session.

Greg Engle