Regan Smith holds on for NNS win at Michigan

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Assuming the lead with 13 laps remaining, Regan Smith managed to keep Kyle Larson behind him in the final circuits to win the Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan International Speedway. The JR Motorsports pilot also made serious hay in the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship by pushing his lead to 58 points over Sam Hornish Jr., who suffered a 32nd place finish after an oil pump problem emerged on his car.

“I felt confident even though he was drafting up to me,” Smith told “It seemed like once we got the car out front it really came to life. [Crew chief] Greg [Ives] made some really good calls to get us the track position.”

Parker Kligerman had control of the lead late in the running, and was hoping for rain as the event had played out under iffy weather conditions. But the wet stuff never came and Kligerman was forced to pit for fuel with 13 laps left; the stop, along with a subsequent speeding penalty on pit road, sent him to a 25th-place finish.

“We played it perfectly for that situation…I was fully for it, but it sucks when you run top-five all day,” said Kligerman. “There was debris everywhere the last 20 laps. Of course, no one threw a caution, so we ran out of fuel and finished wherever we finished.”

Austin Dillon had made history earlier Saturday by becoming the first driver in NNS history to win four consecutive pole positions. He was especially strong in the first half of the race, but had a left-rear tire go down after staying out instead of pitting following a Lap 64 caution. He went a lap down because of the issue, and eventually tumbled to a 20th-place result after tagging the wall with five laps to go.

Larson, Paul Menard, Kyle Busch and Trevor Bayne rounded out the Top 5 spots at the finish.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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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.

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