Short-track tempers: Woman punches driver in Victory Lane at Bowman-Gray

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During this past weekend’s action at venerable North Carolina short track Bowman-Gray Stadium, a woman punched the winner of a Modified race in the stomach.

Burt Myers emerged victorious after making contact with Junior Miller on the final lap, which spun out the latter. Miller showed his displeasure by chasing Myers through the infield grass, around the track, and then back into the grass again where he bumped Myers before he was cut off presumably by track officials.

But that wasn’t the end of it, as a woman walked up during Myers’ victory celebration and gave him a shot to the gut before fans and officers pulled her away.

Fox affiliate WGHP-TV in High Point, North Carolina caught the entire sequence on camera. You can check out their clip below, which ends with Myers’ post-race explanation of the whole matter.

It makes for entertaining theater, but some aren’t happy about it. Noted auto racing writer Shawn Courchesne, formerly of the Hartford Courant and now with RaceDayCT, writes that the incident won’t help the reputation of Bowman-Gray or other short tracks in general.

“Yes, story-lines and drama create fans,” he closes his post. “But, where does it cross the line to not even being about the racing any longer?

“If people are coming to your track mainly because your drivers consistently use their cars as weapons to go after other drives or your drivers are regularly getting hauled off in handcuffs, then are you even selling “racing” at that point?”

It’s a fair argument to make. As Courchesne notes, Bowman-Gray is among the best-attended tracks of its kind. But when brouhahas such as these bring extra attention, they can run the risk of pushing the actual racing product to the side.

Check out the video above and see if you agree with him.

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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