Phoenix Update: Carl Edwards leads at halfway mark

Leave a comment

A quick pit stop has Carl Edwards leading the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at the halfway point.

On Lap 141, Ryan Newman hit the wall for the second time of the afternoon and brought out the caution. Brad Keselowski and pole sitter Mark Martin were the top two at the time, but Edwards was able to beat ’em all out of the pits when everyone came in for service.

Keselowski had been the leader since Lap 128, when he took the point from pole sitter Mark Martin — who had re-assumed the lead by staying out under caution following Newman’s first run-in with the wall on Lap 98.

Martin was forced to give up track position when he pitted under green at Lap 64 after disclosing a possible loose wheel on his No. 55 Toyota. But when a yellow came out one lap later for a Dave Blaney crash, Martin was able to receive the “free pass” and get back on the lead lap. He then drove back into the top 25 before returning to the front of the field on Newman’s aforementioned first incident.

As for those that had to start at the back of the field today, Kurt Busch (damaged primary car in qualifying) and Denny Hamlin (engine change) have both charged into the Top 10. However, Kyle Busch (engine change) is still trying to get up front thanks to a spin and damage he sustained on Lap 48.

Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix

Top 10 at Lap 156/312 (Halfway Point)

1. Carl Edwards

2. Jimmie Johnson

3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

4. Kevin Harvick

5. Denny Hamlin

6. Matt Kenseth

7. Aric Almirola

8. Kasey Kahne

9. Kurt Busch

10. Greg Biffle

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
Leave a comment

Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

Follow @JerryBonkowski