Busch Bros. pace Friday practice for Sprint Cup at Charlotte

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After posting the second-fastest time during today’s opening practice session for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kurt Busch (pictured) topped final practice for tomorrow’s Bank of America 500 with a lap of 190.759 miles per hour in the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet.

Kansas winner Kevin Harvick, who won the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte this past May, was P2 in “Happy Hour” at 189.613 mph. Brad Keselowski (189.401 mph), Clint Bowyer (189.268 mph), and Kyle Busch (189.155 mph) rounded out the Top 5, while tomorrow’s pole sitter, Jeff Gordon, was 10th in the session (188.653 mph).

Kyle Busch wound up pacing the aforementioned opening practice in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, topping out at 189.447 miles per hour. He’ll look to overcome a poor outing last weekend at Kansas, and will start ninth tomorrow alongside his brother Kurt in 10th position.

Matt Kenseth, who leads Jimmie Johnson in the championship by three points going into tomorrow’s race, was eighth and 23rd in the two Friday practice runs. Johnson was 10th and eighth.

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.