Rowdy’s rampage continues in NNS

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Kyle Busch collected his third victory in five NASCAR Nationwide Series starts this season, beating Sam Hornish Jr. by eight-tenths of a second to win the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway.

Busch took the lead from Hornish with 25 laps to go and pulled away to extend Joe Gibbs Racing’s winning streak in the NNS at ACS to a staggering nine races (Busch himself has six of those wins). However, he remains cognizant of the fact that neither his team or his manufacturer, Toyota, has ever claimed a Sprint Cup win at the two-mile oval in Southern California.

“I think it’s pretty cool that you can see a team go to a race track and dominate like that in the series, although it’s really awkward because we have nine in a row in the Nationwide Series and JGR has yet to win a Cup race here,” Busch said. “That’s quite an odd stat, but we’re working hard at it. I know [pole sitter] Denny [Hamlin] is really good for tomorrow and I think we’re okay for tomorrow, too.

“Hopefully, we can change that.”

Busch’s win on Saturday was his 54th in the NNS, and equaled his personal best at a single track; The Rowdy One also has six NNS victories at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He’ll start fourth in tomorrow’s 400-mile Cup event.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.