After Sunday washout, NASCAR is on today’s lunch menu

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Yesterday’s rain-induced postponement of the Duck Commander 500 has made for a mid-day matinee at Texas Motor Speedway. The 334-lap, 501-mile race is set to go off shortly after Noon ET.

From what we’re seeing from reporters at Fort Worth, pre-race ceremonies will be pared down considerably. Per NASCAR, the green flag will drop at 12:09 p.m. ET.

Today’s forecast is looking better, with a reduced chance of rain – about 30 percent – after 2 p.m. local time. Mostly clouds skies are predicted with the temperature reaching the mid-60s.

Tony Stewart earned his 15th career Sprint Cup pole on Saturday and will be joined on the front row by Brad Keselowski. Stewart’s teammate and new track record holder Kevin Harvick starts third, followed by Greg Biffle, who’s always stout at TMS.

Bristol winner Carl Edwards rolls off fifth and next to him is our leading Toyota from Saturday qualifying, Denny Hamlin, in Row 3. Former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne and Ryan Newman make up Row 4, while Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano take the green from Row 5.

Last week’s winner at Martinsville, Kurt Busch, starts on the inside of Row 6. Other notables include Jimmie Johnson in 16th, current points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 19th, and defending race champion Kyle Busch in 29th.

With all of the rubber having been washed off, teams may find the already hyper-fast 1.5-mile oval even quicker for a time before the track starts to “rubber up” again.

Also, keep in mind that teams will have a competition caution at Lap 30 to check on tire wear – which could be a key factor in today’s race.

For those unable to get away from work, we’ll have coverage for you throughout the afternoon here on MotorSportsTalk.

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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