WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 6:30 p.m. ET — Steve Letarte, Tennessee racing history, Truck race highlights

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On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, which airs LIVE tonight at 6:30 pm to 7 pm ET, in-studio hosts Rick Allen and Kyle Petty ride herd over a number of topics.

Among today’s show subjects:

* Steve Letarte, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and next year’s NASCAR on NBC race analyst, calls in to give his thoughts on this Saturday’s Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

* Eli Gold, legendary NASCAR voice (and the radio voice of Alabama Crimson Tide football), takes us through the history of auto racing in the Volunteer State: Tennessee.

* Highlights from today’s NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway where Brad Keselowski earned his first career NCWTS win.

* Parker Kligerman uses the brand new NBC iRacing Simulator to illustrate the difficult (and multiple) pit road entries at Bristol, while Kyle Petty breaks down the extreme banking at Bristol.

* The Top-5 wrecks in Bristol Motor Speedway history.

If you’re not near a TV, you can CLICK HERE to stream NASCAR AMERICA online and on your mobile device through NBC Sports Live Extra.

If you plan to stream, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified. Once you plug those pieces of information in, you’ll have access to the stream.

Again, CLICK HERE to watch NBCSN’s NASCAR AMERICA.

And remember, NASCAR America is LIVE tonight on NBCSN at 6:30 pm ET.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

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.

Follow @JerryBonkowski