RCR camp gains new sponsor for 2014 Cup campaign

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A bit of NASCAR sponsor news that we missed during the week: Wix Filters is now on board at Richard Childress Racing as both a sponsor and as a technical partner.

Next year, the company will serve as primary sponsor for Ryan Newman’s No. 31 Chevrolet at Pocono Raceway in June, the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona in July, and Michigan International Speedway in August. Wix has supported Newman, formerly of Stewart-Haas Racing, since the 2010 season.

“We’ve had a lot of fun together racing the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour,” Newman said in a team release. “I look forward to representing them at RCR and getting the WIX Filters Chevrolet into Victory Lane.”

Additionally, Wix will sponsor Brendan Gaughan in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway next March. Gaughan is moving up to the NNS in 2014 after running with RCR’s Camping World Truck Series program this past year.

As part of the deal, Wix also moves into a technical partnership role with both RCR and ECR Engines. The company will provide the team with air and oil filters as well as research-and-development support.

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.