Run Daytona 500 at night and in prime time? NASCAR is open to it, says Brian France

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In an interview with SportingNews.com, NASCAR chairman/CEO Brian France addressed an issue that fans have long sought to have happen.

Namely, running the Daytona 500 under the lights and on prime-time television, rather than start in its traditional early afternoon slot.

Sunday’s race began shortly after 1 pm ET, only to run just 38 laps before it was delayed by rain for nearly 6 ½ hours. The race resumed after 8:30 pm ET, and finished nearly three hours later at almost 11:30 pm ET.

It marked the second time in three years that the 500 was not only delayed by rain, but the end result was the race was broadcast by default in prime-time.

Would NASCAR like to see the 500 under the lights permanently, with the likelihood that TV ratings would increase due to the prime-time slot?

“We have considered it and for lots of reasons have not done that,” France said.

He added that while NASCAR remains open to the idea, officials from Fox Sports, which televises the race, as well as from Daytona International Speedway would have to agree to a time change.

“It’s always a consideration,” France said. “Of course, it’s not just our decision. Fox has to believe that’s the right time and all the rest.”

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BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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