Veach, Chaves lead Indy Lights test at Sebring

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The first Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires test of 2014 is in the books, with series veterans Zach Veach (Andretti Autosport) and Gabby Chaves (Belardi Auto Racing) leading the timesheets.

Veach’s Tuesday time of 57.832 seconds on the Sebring International Raceway short course held up as the best overall time, with Chaves next at 58.074. Veach is confirmed for his second full season with Andretti, while Chaves, the 2013 season runner-up, is yet to confirm his 2014 team plans as yet.

Veach’s two Andretti teammates were next with former GP2 runner-up Luiz Razia clocking in fifth, best of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ three entries. Times are below; note only 10 cars tested as the Team Moore Racing pairing of Zack Meyer and Raoul Owens did not appear.

1.  26-Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport, 57.832 (Session 2)
2.  5-Gabby Chaves, Belardi Auto Racing, 58.074 (2)
3.  83-Matthew Brabham, Andretti Autosport, 58.150 (4)
4.  27-Vittorio Ghirelli, Andretti Autosport, 58.222 (4)
5.  8-Luiz Razia, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, 58.332 (3)
6.  7-Juan Piedrahita, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, 58.436 (2)
7.  42-Jack Harvey, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, 58.748 (4)
8.  4-Alex Baron, Belardi Auto Racing, 58.771 (2)
9.  24-Scott Anderson, Fan Force United, 58.969 (3)
10. 28-Lloyd Read, Bryan Herta Autosport, 59.335 (3)

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.