IndyCar: Carpenter looks for second straight oval win; also visits NYC for media

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Only Team Penske (three wins) has more wins thus far in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season than does Ed Carpenter Racing (two), achieved by two different drivers. Mike Conway won at Long Beach and Ed Carpenter won in Texas.

And if the eponymous team owner of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet wins this weekend in Pocono (Sunday, noon ET, NBCSN), ECR will be tied with one of IndyCar’s most successful operations overall for the most wins this season.

It would also give Carpenter his second 500-mile race win, having also conquered the 500-mile season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. in 2012.

“I think we actually had a good chance at both races on the ovals this year,” Carpenter said heading into the weekend. “We were in position to challenge Ryan (Hunter-Reay) at Indy but the incident on lap 175 cost us that possibility. Now, I really want to go after that Pocono win.

“I really love racing at Pocono,” he added; he finished ninth at Pocono in 2013. “It is so unique and challenging. I’m not sure there is another corner in our IndyCar Series like turn one at Pocono. It’s flat out on the throttle and very tricky. Just like the track’s nickname applies.”

Carpenter could play spoiler to the rest of the full-season drivers. With this being a double points race, a win offers 100 points with second 80 (instead of 50 and 40, respectively). It could provide a swing in the championship.

Carpenter was also in New York City Thursday for a series of media, including on CNBC’s Squawk Street and NBCSN’s SportsDash. Clips will follow later in the day.

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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