Milwaukee will make 2014 IndyCar calendar, but date still a question mark

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The Milwaukee Mile will have a place on the 2014 IndyCar schedule, and on Wednesday, we’ll find out when the race will be. Both the race promoter and The Business Journal serving Greater Milwaukee have confirmed Milwaukee’s return.

Michael Andretti’s Andretti Sports Marketing group resuscitated the race after previous promoters hit financial issues through 2011. It came back to life in 2012 as the Milwaukee IndyFest and featured an uptick in corporate support this year, but flat attendance (roughly 25,000 fans) according to the report by The Business Journal.

The track has confirmed ASM will hold a press conference Wednesday morning to determine the date of next year’s race, and potentially further information regarding corporate support (read: title or presenting sponsor).

It’s run the Saturday before Father’s Day in June the last two years and while it could be held on that date again, there are potential complications.

Previously announced 2014 IndyCar races from May through July include the Indianapolis road course race (May 10), Indianapolis 500 (May 25), Detroit (May 31-June 1), Texas (June 7), Pocono (July 6) and Toronto (July 19-20).

If Milwaukee gets slotted in on the Saturday, June 14, that would be IndyCar’s sixth consecutive weekend of on-track activity. The possibility of a seventh straight, Iowa the following weekend, would occur if the two short ovals match their 2013 dates.

Houston is also projected to move to late June from various media reports (notably by NBCSN insider and RACER.com reporter Robin Miller). If that happens, one of the two June weekends (13-15; 20-22) would need to be an off weekend simply to give the series and crews a break.

Whatever Milwaukee’s date ends up being will have a two-pronged effect. If it stays as is in June, expect Iowa to move to allow for an off weekend before the likely move of Houston. If it switches, then Iowa could stay as is the week after.

All will be revealed regarding the full 2014 schedule on a joint schedule release and championship preview show, Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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.