Tire failure puts Martin Truex Jr. in wall, backup car for Sunday

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Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing were forced to go to their backup No. 78 Chevrolet for Sunday’s Auto Club 400 after a tire failure sent the primary car into the wall during this morning’s first Sprint Cup practice at Auto Club Speedway.

“I was still wide-open turning down into the corner [Turn 1] and the left rear came apart – shredded,” Truex told Fox Sports before this afternoon’s Cup final practice. “No warning at all, but the first tire we ran a 12-lap run right off the start of practice and we saw a sign of an issue with the sidewall on that tire, so we put some air in it.

“Goodyear always says you can put some air in it and we went up on air pressure and went out. I think it was on the eighth lap, it came apart. My plan was to not run more than 10 because on 12 the first run, it came apart and I was thinking 10 would be safe because we put air in it. And, we come to find out, it wasn’t.

“I’m not sure what the options are now. We’re gonna put more air in it and try again. There’s nothing else we can do.”

Truex had qualified 12th yesterday for Sunday’s main event in his primary car. The practice incident is the latest in a string of bad luck moments that has marred his first season so far with Furniture Row.

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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