MotoGP will return to the Brickyard next season

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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has announced that MotoGP will return to the Brickyard’s 2.6-mile road course in 2014, with an expected race date of mid-August to be announced later.

According to a press release from the track, IMS and MotoGP promoter Dorna have begun discussions about a long-term pact beyond next year, which marks the end of the current contract.

MotoGP has ran at Indy since the 2008 season, when they replaced Formula One’s United States Grand Prix as the track’s third major annual event alongside the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400.

“We’re very pleased that we can bring our fans another thrilling MotoGP World Championship race in 2014 at IMS,” track president Doug Boles said in a statement. “The last six years have established a solid foundation for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, and we are optimistic about the growth of the event in Indianapolis.

“We are also eager to continue working with our friends at Dorna to ensure an exciting, long-term future for MotoGP at The Racing Capital of the World.”

In his own statement, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta touched upon how the legendary track’s heritage has helped “grow the popularity of MotoGP in the United States and around the world.”

“I would like to thank the organization and staff at Indianapolis for their fantastic efforts to keep the race at their track, and I am already looking forward to returning next year,” Ezpeleta said.

Spanish rider Marc Marquez will start on pole for tomorrow’s main event at IMS.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force qualifies 15th with no motor explosion, says ‘I need to race smart’ Sunday

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There’s good news and bad news for John Force fans.

The good news is the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ did not suffer yet another motor explosion after enduring his third in three races during Friday’s qualifying session at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway.

In fact, Force intentionally feathered the gas pedal on his Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car to make sure it wasn’t again overtaxed, qualifying 15th with a run of 4.281 seconds at 222.88 mph.

Now for the bad news.

When Sunday’s final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. ET, Force will be matched against daughter and No. 2 qualifier, Courtney Force (3.914 seconds at 332.18 mph).

“It is a little bit of a bummer that I have to race him in the first round,” Courtney Force said of her father. “Tomorrow is a new day and we will have all our stuff ready and we will put on our game faces to go for that win.”

Courtney Force is seeking her second consecutive win, having also won two weeks ago at the second national event of the season in suburban Phoenix.

“I want to have a good side-by-side safe race tomorrow in round one,” Force said. “Our goal is to take my dad down and have a long day at the track winning rounds.

“We want to move the momentum over from Phoenix. I feel like my guys have a good handle on this Advance Auto Parts Camaro.”

But don’t count out dear old dad, an eight-time Funny Car winner at Gainesville.

“I am the kind of guy that, when it is qualifying day, I run it to the edge.,” John Force said. “I run it even if I know it will hurt itself.

“(With his three motor explosions this season) I am rethinking all that. What I am looking is the long haul. To go out here and say I have to win this race or I have to qualify low after as much stuff as we have put on the ground in Pomona and Phoenix and then to come here and do it again is bad. … We want to fix this problem and move on.

“Tomorrow I am going to have to play the odds game. I am going to run it to 700 or 800 feet and hope (Courtney) gets in trouble. I need to race smart.”

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