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TUSC: Ganassi to run Fords in merged sports car series

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Any game Roger Penske can play when it comes to spreading his wings among different manufacturers, Chip Ganassi can play too.

Chip Ganassi Racing announced Tuesday at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas it will run Ford Ecoboost powerplants in its Daytona Prototype entries in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The move is a switch from the Dinan-built, BMW power it has used for several seasons.

The team is the second to announce it will run the Ford Ecoboost V6 turbos in the TUDOR Championship, along with Michael Shank Racing. MSR set a Daytona speed record with the engine and driver Colin Braun last month.

Ganassi’s IndyCar and NASCAR operations run with Chevrolet powerplants, and the immediate question when the IndyCar switch was announced back in Houston last month was whether the sports car operation would follow suit.

Penske, meanwhile, runs Fords in NASCAR, and Chevrolets in IndyCar. “The Captain” does not have a sports car program lined up for 2014.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

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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.