Cup: Alex Bowman, Ryan Truex confirmed at BK Racing

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Add two more drivers to an already crowded rookie class for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as Alex Bowman and Ryan Truex are set to join BK Racing this season after testing for them during Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway.

As first reported by’s Lee Spencer, Bowman will take over the No. 23 Toyota with sponsorship from Dr. Pepper – the car used to be the No. 93 but has now been re-branded, although the No. 93 has been retained on a “part-time basis” according to the team.

Truex, the younger brother of Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr., is set to race the team’s second car, the No. 83 Toyota (pictured, from last year).

Dave Winston will work as Bowman’s crew chief on the No. 23, while Truex will have the services of Dale Ferguson on the No. 83.

“Alex and Ryan have always impressed me,” team owner Ron Devine said in a team statement confirming the two rookies as their 2014 drivers. “Both take care of their cars and have shown speed at every level they have competed in.

“With their abilities, we feel they can both excel in our equipment. As a team we are very excited, and their abilities to work with everyone here at BK Racing will be important.”

Bowman competed in all but one race last season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, finishing 11th in the standings with two Top-5s and six Top-10s in the RAB Racing No. 99 Toyota (now driven by James Buescher). The Arizona native is also a veteran of ARCA and both the East and West divisions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.

Truex, who had been a Richard Petty Motorsports development driver as of 2013, competed in his first three career Sprint Cup races last year at Bristol (night), Richmond (fall), and Dover (fall). All of those outings were for Phoenix Racing, and he earned a top finish of 32nd at Dover.

With freshmen Bowman and Truex now on the grid, this year’s Rookie of the Year title will be decided among a group of eight competitors that also includes Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing), Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing), Michael Annett (Tommy Baldwin Racing), Justin Allgaier (Phoenix Racing), and Swan Racing’s Parker Kligerman and Cole Whitt.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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