Westboro Baptist Church says it will picket Kansas Speedway


The controversial Westboro Baptist Church – known for its extreme prejudice of homosexuals and its conducting of anti-gay protests at various events, including funerals of American soldiers – will picket at the Kansas Speedway next month during a NASCAR weekend.

The WBC’s official website says that the church shall picket from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 21 before that day’s STP 400 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Church spokesperson Shirley Phelps-Roper first tweeted the news last weekend.

On March 9, motorsports blog Queers4Gears posted tweets from the WBC’s Margie Phelps that revealed a potential future protest of the series (WARNING: The preceding link contains language that may be offensive to some readers). However, those particular tweets did not disclose the location of a planned protest.

As noted at the time by both Q4G and SB Nation’s OutSports blog, a possible cause for the picket may be Q4G’s interview at Phoenix International Raceway with reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski. In that interview, Keselowski was asked if NASCAR was ready for an openly gay driver and if one would have trouble gaining acceptance in that world.

“I can’t speak for the fans, I can only speak for myself, but in this garage, if you can win, people will want to be a part of what you can do,” Keselowski responded.

The theory that his comments helped trigger the upcoming protest may be bolstered by the message that ends the notice of the protest on the WBC’s website: “God Hates Brad Keselowski!”

WBC leader Fred Phelps also communicated about the situation earlier this month, going so far as to re-tweet the OutSports pick-up of the Q4G interview while adding a hashtag and the message: “No wonder God kills & maims these idiot race car drivers & their fanatics on a regular basis!”

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski