Exam to determine if stitches can be removed from Brad Keselowski’s injured right hand prior to racing at Daytona

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Brad Keselowski is due to be reexamined to determine if the stitches on his injured right hand can be removed sometime before Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, according to a Team Penske statement.

Keselowski’s hand was injured on a broken champagne bottle during the post-Kentucky win celebration in victory lane. He went to the infield care center and received four stitches to close the wound.

The team statement did not indicate when Keselowski will be examined, but it will likely be while he is in Daytona Beach for this weekend’s race action.

If it’s determined that the stitches cannot be removed, Keselowski will likely compete in Saturday’s race with some type of protective covering or wrap over the stitches.

According to Team Penske, Keselowski has not been hampered by the injury, having taken part in a team test earlier this week.

Keselowski told NASCAR.com on Monday, “Do I anticipate (any problems holding the steering wheel)? No, last time I had stitches, it was just seven days or so and we’re going to Daytona, which is probably the easiest track you could ask for. I didn’t break any bones or any of that stuff. I just put a big gash, so I don’t think it’ll be an issue.”

If Keselowski were to double up and win a second straight race Saturday, it’s likely the champagne will remain on ice.

As he said after Saturday night’s incident, “We should have stuck with beer.”

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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.