After leading first segment of Sprint All-Star Race, Kyle Busch wrecks in second segment; night is over

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After leading the first segment of the five-segment, 90-lap Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch’s night came to an abrupt end in the second segment.

Busch got into the rear of Clint Bowyer’s car, who started drifting, only to bounce back into Busch’s car, spinning him out.

“I got into him, got him squirrelly, he touched me and spun me out the wrong way,” Busch said of Hamlin.

It was the younger Busch brother’s ninth start in the All-Star race and the fifth time he has failed to finish.

Logano was collected in the wreck when he couldn’t avoid Busch’s car, which was coming down the track and Logano piled into it.

“They were racing hard in front of me and the 18 car spun out there,” Logano said.  “I thought he was gonna stay up by the wall and I kind of committed to running that bottom and I was trying to slow up as quick as I could, but once he started coming down the race track I kept trying to turn lower and lower and hoped he would go back up the race track and never did.  I wish I had turned to the right and tried to get around him that way, but I was really thinking he would not keep sliding down like that and keep going back up the corner because it looked like he had a lot of speed still, but I didn’t get to have much fun tonight.”

Also wrecking in the second segment was AJ Allmendinger, who got pinched by Greg Biffle sideswiping Brian Vickers and into Allmendinger, who hit the infield retaining wall hard.

Kasey Kahne led at the conclusion of the second segment with two more 20-lap segments and a deciding 10-lap final segment still to come.

Of the 22 cars that started, three were out after the second segment: Kyle Busch, Logano and Allmendinger. There were four cautions in the first two segments.

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NHRA Gatornationals: John Force qualifies 15th with no motor explosion, says ‘I need to race smart’ Sunday

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There’s good news and bad news for John Force fans.

The good news is the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ did not suffer yet another motor explosion after enduring his third in three races during Friday’s qualifying session at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway.

In fact, Force intentionally feathered the gas pedal on his Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car to make sure it wasn’t again overtaxed, qualifying 15th with a run of 4.281 seconds at 222.88 mph.

Now for the bad news.

When Sunday’s final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. ET, Force will be matched against daughter and No. 2 qualifier, Courtney Force (3.914 seconds at 332.18 mph).

“It is a little bit of a bummer that I have to race him in the first round,” Courtney Force said of her father. “Tomorrow is a new day and we will have all our stuff ready and we will put on our game faces to go for that win.”

Courtney Force is seeking her second consecutive win, having also won two weeks ago at the second national event of the season in suburban Phoenix.

“I want to have a good side-by-side safe race tomorrow in round one,” Force said. “Our goal is to take my dad down and have a long day at the track winning rounds.

“We want to move the momentum over from Phoenix. I feel like my guys have a good handle on this Advance Auto Parts Camaro.”

But don’t count out dear old dad, an eight-time Funny Car winner at Gainesville.

“I am the kind of guy that, when it is qualifying day, I run it to the edge.,” John Force said. “I run it even if I know it will hurt itself.

“(With his three motor explosions this season) I am rethinking all that. What I am looking is the long haul. To go out here and say I have to win this race or I have to qualify low after as much stuff as we have put on the ground in Pomona and Phoenix and then to come here and do it again is bad. … We want to fix this problem and move on.

“Tomorrow I am going to have to play the odds game. I am going to run it to 700 or 800 feet and hope (Courtney) gets in trouble. I need to race smart.”

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