IMSA: Ganassi, Corvette Racing take Long Beach wins

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Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas have gone back-to-back in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The pair took their No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost Riley to a controlled but dominant victory in the Patron Showcase at Long Beach, Round 3 of the season.

Pruett, Rojas and Marino Franchitti took the first win for the new engine last time out in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. This 100-minute race, the pole sitting car was the class of the field.

Despite a late rally, Jordan Taylor was unable to close the gap in the newly sponsored Konica Minolta No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP. He and older brother Ricky finished second.

In third was the Action Express Racing Corvette DP, the No. 5 co-driven by Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa.

In GTLM, Corvette Racing took the win for the new C7.R, the pole sitting No. 3 entry co-driven by Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia. Garcia started after Magnussen stuck the thing on pole on Friday, and got out to a big lead as the No. 2 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b was in-between it and the rest of the GTLM field.

There was a great battle for second behind them, with the No. 56 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE of John Edwards and Dirk Mueller holding off the second Corvette C7.R, the No, 4 of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.

The race ran caution-free, although there were still several retirements due to mechanical issues. The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley, which started second, had two instances where it had nowhere else to go.

In three weeks, all four TUDOR Championship classes return to action at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May. The P/GTLM and returning PC/GTD classes will run separate two-hour races.

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.