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

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.