5-Hour Energy will stay with Bowyer, MWR for 2014

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NAPA, no. 5-Hour Energy, yes.

A statement released Friday morning from the latter company indicated it would continue with Michael Waltrip Racing and Clint Bowyer for 2014, and moved up its decision from the end of the year to now in the wake of the controversy at Richmond.

Bowyer’s late spin at Richmond set off a firestorm over the next week about team orders, race-fixing and “not racing to 100 percent of your ability.” Waltrip’s team was fined $300,000 and the 50-point penalties issued to each driver directly knocked Bowyer’s teammate, Martin Truex Jr., out of the 2013 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup.

The statement reads in full:

This week the 5-hour ENERGY®team met after the New Hampshire race to discuss our future with Michael Waltrip Racing. While our original plan was to announce the status of our sponsorship at the end of the year, this timeframe left many concerned about their future.  There are scores of passionate fans, numerous charitable organizations, and hundreds of hard-working MWR employees and their families who are directly impacted by 5-hour ENERGY’s NASCAR sponsorship.  After several internal discussions and meetings with MWR, we are prepared to announce our decision ahead of schedule. 5-hour ENERGY® will be back as a sponsor of MWR and Clint Bowyer for 2014.   We look forward to another great year of competitive racing.  Go 15!

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.