The hottest man on a very hot day at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday was Matt Crafton, who put his ThorSport Racing Toyota on the pole for tonight’s UNOH 225 NASCAR Camping Truck Series race.

After fighting handling issues in practice, Crafton ran 173.288 miles per hour in his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota Tundra, best of the 40 trucks at Kentucky. “It says a lot about what these guys did to make it drivable,” said Crafton, who described his truck as “wrecking loose” earlier in the day.

The Turner Motorsports Chevrolets were also very fast on this 100-degree day, with Nelson Piquet Jr. running 172.574 mph in his No. 30 to claim second spot, while James Buescher was third after cranking out a lap of 172.326 mph in the No. 31 Turner entry. Fourth was Ty Dillon’s Richard Childress Racing entry, followed by Miguel Paludo in a third Turner Chevy.

Johnny Sauter was sixth, followed by Timothy Peters, Parker Kligerman and Cale Gale.

Trucks Series points leader Justin Lofton nearly wrecked on his second qualifying lap, but held on despite a lurid slide in Turn 2. “We just loosened it up too much,” said Lofton, who ended the day 10th.

SPEED’s live Truck Series television coverage from Kentucky Speedway begins with qualifying at 5 p.m. ET. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Setup airs at 7:30 p.m., followed by the race at 8 p.m.

Failing to qualify were Chris Lafferty, Johnny Chapman, Norm Benning and Jennifer Jo Cobb.

With seven of 22 races in the books for the 2012 Truck Series season, Lofton leads Peters by 5 points, Dillon by 12 and Buescher by 23.

Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.