More money on the line for NASCAR’s All-Star Race

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The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 18 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will have some new incentives for drivers to do well throughout the event’s five segments.

The running order at the end of Segment 4 will be repositioned behind the caution car according to the average finish for the first four segments before pit road opens for a mandatory four-tire stop — and the order of the cars coming back on track after the stop will be the starting grid for the fifth and final segment.

Considering that the final segment is a 10-lap dash with a $1 million prize going to the winner, NASCAR believes that this tweak to the All-Star format will keep drivers up on the wheel at every turn.

“Having the average finish through the race’s first four segments determine how the cars come down pit road for the last mandatory four-tire pit stop takes the competition to an even higher level,” said NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton in a statement.

There’s also an added challenge for the drivers that could lead to an even bigger payday. If one driver can win all five segments, he’ll bag an additional $1 million bonus on top of the $1 million winner’s purse.

“It’s going to be extremely difficult to win all five,” reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski told NASCAR.com. “But in order to win an extra $1 million, you should have to do something special. And winning all five segments would be something very special.”

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

Force’s daughter, Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, suffered a hard wreck at Pomona, but recovered in time to race this weekend in Phoenix.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

Follow @JerryBonkowski