Brian Scott wins pole for tonight’s Richmond Nationwide race

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Tonight, Brian Scott will look to get the one that got away from him last fall.

Scott won the pole for tonight’s NASCAR Nationwide Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway after posting a lap of 22.120 seconds (122.061 mph) in the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

In last fall’s Nationwide race at Richmond – the 1000th race in series history – Scott led 239 of the 250 laps only to lose out to Brad Keselowski, who passed him with 10 laps to go and then pulled away from him off the final restart with six to go before claiming victory.

Starting alongside Scott tonight will be 18-year-old Dylan Kwasniewski, who was leading the final round before Scott threw down his eventual pole-winning lap. The Las Vegas native topped out at 22.153 seconds (121.880 mph) in the No. 31 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet.

Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott, who has won the last two Nationwide races at Texas and Darlington, will start from Row 3. Trevor Bayne and Chris Buescher make up Row 4, Regan Smith and Kyle Busch are in Row 5, and Kevin Harvick and Nationwide rookie Carlos Suarez roll off from Row 6.

In the first round, many teams waited until clouds settled over the 3/4-mile oval before going out for their fast laps to get in the Top 12. In the end, Bayne was the quickest in Round 1 with a lap of 22.076 seconds, while Suarez was able to stay on the 12th-place bubble and advance.

Elliott Sadler and Kyle Larson both narrowly missed advancing and will start together in Row 7. Larson admitted that he was taken aback at his qualifying performance but tried to shrug it off.

“My fast lap didn’t feel that fast,” Larson said to ESPN. “I was surprised that we were as bad as we were. I don’t know, it’s shocking to be 14th [on the grid], but we’ll race fine. I felt like we had one of the best cars in practice yesterday. [And] look at last year, I was never really typically a good qualifier.

“So I’m not too worried about it. I think everybody over here…will be just fine. Just a little disappointed about how qualifying went, but like I said, we’ll be fine.”

Tonight’s race is scheduled to start around 7 p.m. ET, but there is a possibility that rain may push back the start to some degree. We’ll keep you posted.

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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